Over the past year I’ve nearly been bested by the unclimbable mountain that is the RuneScape soundtrack. With well over 1,200 tracks currently existing in the game, it’s sheer folly to try to listen to it all straight through. That, of course, is exactly what I’ve been attempting, yet with new tracks coming out all of the time, I feel that there’s no end in sight.
If I’m to be forever working my way through an MMO soundtrack, RuneScape is a great place to be. As I’ve been discovering, there is such a sheer variety of interesting and catchy tunes on display covering a wide swath of biomes, races, events, and situations. What I perhaps like best is how RuneScape’s score isn’t in the slightest self-conscious with being silly and bizarre. In fact, it seems to revel in it!
So today let’s take an odd musical interlude to listen to six goofy and weird RuneScape tracks before we all get serious again about our video games.
MMORPG fans know well the name Bill Roper: He’s the former Blizzard developer who went on to helm Flagship’s Hellgate: London and Cryptic’s Champions Online before landing the gig at Disney Interactive. Now, he’s moving on to Improbable and SpatialOS, the distributed computing platform that seems to pop up in our feeds constantly nowadays and is allegedly worth a billion bucks.
Roper told Gamasutra that he’d been interested in SpatialOS for a few years but became a convert during this past GDC before accepting the role of Chief Creative Officer. “The possibilities for not just massive worlds, but highly detailed and truly persistent worlds built on SpatialOS are exciting. I believe the games that will define AR and VR are yet to be realized, and the type of simulation that can be achieved with our platform can be an integral part of these new experiences,” he explains.
Improbable’s tech is being used as a base for multiple incoming MMOs, including Chronicles of Elyria and Worlds Adrift. Most recently, CEO Herman Narula revealed that his long-term goal is to “literally create other worlds” and rescue to MMO industry from what he called “nuclear winter.”
Everybody’s doing sandbox MMOARGs these days — including Disney.
Disney World in Orlando has been working on a new Star Wars ride, glad news for anyone who barfed on the old one over the last couple of decades. But Disney is getting more than an updated ride: The Star Wars expansion land part of the park nabbed an extensive panel reveal during this past weekend’s Star Wars Celebration, and it definitely shares a bit in common with live-action MMOs.
“We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations,” Disney Creative Exec Scott Trowbridge says, echoing thousands of giddy game devs before him, “but this time you can be in the story.”
To that end, Disney is setting the new area on a new-to-the-franchise planet, within the new trilogy timeline. Attendees will fly the Millennium Falcon as one of the “rides,” and what they do during one trip will affect the trip of the next batch of guests, with “total immersion” as the goal. You’ll also be picking… a faction.
The fallout over The Secret World’s reboot into Secret World Legends has spread far and wide over the MMO blogging community, with many expressing dismay while others signal intrigue.
“This is bad in pretty much every way that it possibly could be,” laments Superior Realities, while Through Wolfy’s Eyes said that the reboot “seems like a solution that isn’t doing a great job of communicating its intent too well, which makes me feel a tiny bit worried.” GamingSF doesn’t know if he has it in him to repeat all of the content, saying that it is “too big of an ask at the moment.” And Inventory Full calls the move “an act of desperation” on the part of the studio.
“I am also really hoping that stripped of MMO shackles that this title can truly excel,” I Has PC notes on the other hand, and Endgame Viable comments that Legends “sounds like a good thing.”
We’ve got more MMO blogger essays to share with you this week, including a requiem for Club Penguin, a judgment on SWTOR’s galactic command, and a summation of the average LOTRO player.
KingsIsle has just put out a pair of monthly newsletters for its 101 games — heads-up to any lost Club Penguin peeps that there are some non-mobile MMOs still catering to your tastes!
While Pirate101’s community letter is more of the social sort, Wizard101 is currently in the midst of plotting a new update for players.
“Please download the Test Realm and join us in Testing the Monstrology system, three new Skeleton Key Bosses, the level 118 school pet quests, Aquila fishing, and much more,” the Wizard101 crew says.
There’s a teaser video too down below so you know just what to expect.
Justin goes away to Disney for a week and the MMO world explodes with news, which is to be expected. From a controversial reboot to a controversial superhero return to a controversial patch, there’s no shortage of ruffled feathers and quirked eyebrows at this past week’s news roundup!
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In case you weren’t sick of looking at Johnny Depp’s face, here comes another stab at a Pirates of the Caribbean MMO. No, it’s not Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and it’s not the player emulator for Pirates of the Caribbean Online either; this is Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War, a Disney-sanctioned mobile MMORTS by South Korean studio Joycity. And it’s got Depp’s smarmy mug all over it.
“In-game, players will become pirates in the world of the Pirates of the Caribbean and will experience different playstyles with various strategies through building and ship construction and troops training. Furthermore, players can form an alliance to battle against each other or defeat common monsters floating the sea. Equally, players will encounter familiar characters from Pirates of the Caribbean, including Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa and Will Turner.”
You won’t find her on the official site, but there’s a picture of some girl buried in Google Play, but it’s not like she’s super important or absurdly famous or anything, so let’s not mention her for some reason.
We’re sad to follow up on the January announcement that Disney was closing kid-centric Club Penguin to say that it has indeed happened: Yesterday marked the final day of play in the almost-12-year-old MMO. That’s 4174 days, if you’re counting. “The end of an era,” Reddit has declared it.
Disney isn’t leaving its legions of young fans entirely in the lurch; it’s replacing Club Penguin with a new game on a new platform: Club Penguin Island. In fact, it’s live today.
South Korean Tencent affiliate Netmarble announced today that it will launch an initial public offering to the tune of $2.35 billion US. That works out to approximately 17 million newly issued shares.
As GI.biz explains, Netmarble is hoping to pay off debts and increase its holdings, building “towards a state goal of being in the top five global gaming companies by 2020.”
Reuters calls the IPO the second-largest for the country, sandwiched between two Samsung IPOs.
In the west, the company is probably best known for games like Lineage 2: Revolution, Prius, and Uncharted Waters; its recent partnership with Disney came with a license for Marvel and Star Wars titles as well.
If your MMO’s overlords suddenly announced that they were going to shut down your game in a month’s time, how would you spend those remaining days? For some of the players of Club Penguin, the answer to that is “try to get banned as quickly and memorably as possible.”
Apparently there’s this whole crazy fad going on right now in Club Penguin where new and existing players are making a game out of getting banned faster than anyone else. The goal is to make a brand-new account and time yourself while violating the game’s rules and triggering an automatic ban. The current record to beat? One player used a few special tools to go from nothing to full-on ban in just 29 seconds.
The speedbanning community even has its own subreddit, bannedfromclubpenguin, in which players share their stories and techniques. Just so that you know, Club Penguin gives everyone a single free bad word before lowering the banhammer. You learn something new every day!
We were remarking in the Massively OP office the other day how weird it was that Club Penguin’s shutdown was getting mainstream news attention in a way that many more important and long-running titles (Asheron’s Call anyone?) were not. One reason why this might be, apart from its Disney connection, is that for some players, Club Penguin was their introduction to online worlds and they still retain a strong emotional connection because we tend to fondly remember our first everythings. Never underestimate nostalgia!
MMORPGs as we know them today weren’t really around when I was growing up, but I have no doubt that many of our readers cut their teeth on titles at a much younger age. How young were you when you played your first MMO? Was it a kiddie title like Wizard101 or an all-ages pick like World of Warcraft? Were you one of those who picked up RuneScape because it was free and you didn’t have access to your parents’ credit cards?
Consider this your triple dose of MMO industry news for the day so that you can be the talk of the water cooler tomorrow.
Activision Blizzard might be getting into the toy market, as it has opened up a new consumer products division and hired a former Disney and Mattel exec to run it. What will they be selling? It’s not clear yet, but they use PR words like “touchpoints,” so chew on that for a bit.
Meanwhile, ZeniMax announced that it has acquired Escalation Studios, which has specialized in mobile, console, and VR games. Escalation might have been brought in to help with the Fallout VR project underway at Bethesda.
Finally, Jagex put out a press release stating that it has launched an audio RuneScape experience to the Amazon Echo. Fans can download the app RuneScape Quests: One Piercing Note to play this interactive murdery mystery.
After an 11-and-a-half year run, Disney’s Club Penguin is preparing to close its doors. Don’t cry too hard; the move is one of those strange good news, bad news situations. The reason for the shutdown of both the mobile and desktop MMO is that Disney is preparing to launch a mobile successor called Club Penguin Island around the same time.
“As part of the launch of Club Penguin Island in March, we will be transitioning to an entirely new platform, and, we’ve made the decision to discontinue the current Club Penguin game on desktop and mobile devices on March 29th, 2017,” Disney announced.
Club Penguin launched back in October 2005 and was purchased by Disney in 2007. Disney has a huge party planned for the game in February and is encouraging players to reserve their names for Club Penguin Island.