Non-owners can now progress to power level 300 without disruption and engage in the Leviathan raid and the standard Trials of the Nine maps. Previously, Curse of Osiris made the trials inaccessible to the base game owners even if the launch maps were featured, which rankled more than one member of the community.
Let’s pull apart the accomplishments of ESO this year into my standard for grading MMORPGs: The Bartle Taxonomy. MMORPGs are wonderful because of the breadth of different activities that players can participate in. They draw together many different kinds of players, and Bartle’s Taxonomy breaks these players into four different categories: Socializers, Achievers, Killers, and Explorers.
Most people will be a blend of two or more of these categories. I’m going to measure the merits of the game based each category individually using a scale you’ll often find in American schools: A, B, C, D, and F.
“We’ve heard from the community that both of these plans aren’t working. The Prestige Raid was a novel experience that players value, even if they don’t own Curse of Osiris, and it was a mistake to move that experience out of reach. Throughout the lifetime of the Destiny Franchise, Trials has always required that players owned the latest Expansion. However, for Destiny 2, Trials of The Nine launched as part of the main game, so it’s not right for us to remove access to it. To make matters worse, our team overlooked the fact that both of these mistakes disabled Trophies and Achievements for Destiny 2. This was an unacceptable lapse on our part, and we can understand the frustration it has created.”
The proposed changes generate issues of their since they mean downtuning content that was meant to provide a level-appropriate challenge for the new level cap in Curse of Osiris.
Better buy Sword Coast Legends while you still can: It appears that Wizards of the Coast and Digital Extremes will be ending the publishing contract for the Dungeons and Dragons-based co-op game at the end of 2017. The good news that the servers will stay up for those who already own it (or who purchase it before December 31st).
“Purchase Sword Coast Legends now at 67% off and receive the Rage of Demons DLC for free,” the devs posted to the official forums. “Our publishing contracting is ending, but although Sword Coast Legends will no longer be available to purchase after December, its multiplayer servers will remain live indefinitely.” (It looks to be $14.99 on Steam as I type this, so the sale doesn’t appear to be live yet.)
We’ve been following the game since 2015 when we first heard about this odd multiplayer-slash-single-player game, which allowed one player to step into the gamemaster’s shoes to run campaigns for a team. It officially launched in October of that year after an initial delay, then rolled out an expansion in May of 2016, followed by a double console launch in July of 2016, but it’s been relatively quiet since then. In the middle of it all, the original developer, n-Space, was shuttered, leaving further development to Digital Extremes.
Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
If you’ve decided to hold off on buying the Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris DLC, good news! The game’s endgame is now locked away from you completely! Looking back, it’s unclear why we prefaced that by calling it good news.
Yes, the first DLC for the game is out now, and that means an increase to both the Power level cap and the addition of new endgame antics. However, if you don’t own the DLC, your Power level is capped lower than the required minimum… for activities that were present in the game at launch. The Heroic strike list also locks you out even though it has a Power level you can reach.
Obviously, the endgame activities for the game are meant to rely upon the most recent DLC, a common situation in more or less every MMO ever. That doesn’t make it feel less irritating when content that has been in the game since launch is suddenly inaccessible to you as a result.
Enough lollygagging, you Guardians; it’s time to suit up and get your butt to Mars… er, Mercury. Wait, Mercury? We sure that’s right? Oh. Well then, they’re going to get toasty warm before all is said and done.
Destiny 2 pushed its Curse of Osiris DLC live today, bringing the first “expansion” to the multiplayer shooter since its launch a couple of months ago. The $20 pack (which can also be accessed through a season pass) includes adventures on Mercury and a new social hang called the Lighthouse. Players will face off with the cyborg Vex, a race that is attempting to “reshape reality” as violently as possible. The only hope, other than a million gamers with itchy trigger fingers, is Brother Vance and his Followers of Osiris.
Players will explore the Infinite Forest at the heart of Mercury, battle it out in the new Tree of Probabilities strike, and battle between each other on one of Titan’s ocean rigs. See what the DLC has to offer in the launch trailer below!
“[Players] say they are blown away by the fact that we aren’t a full retail game with paid DLC, and that the monetization we have integrated is more than fair. We’re looking to redefine what free-to-play means to gamers,” Braun argues. That means making almost everything in the game earnable inside the game, downing content progression walls, allowing players to freely trade within the microtransaction system, and respecting the new reality that “a games service is always on and needs constant attention.”
Bloggers and journalists throughout the online gaming industry have been talking about monetization a lot lately. It’s not just lockbox/gachapon scandals, or their relationship with gambling, but basic monetization and what we want from it. Games, after all, don’t make themselves; we have to pay for something to make that happen. But some gamers seem to view free-to-play games as a game that should be free, not one to be supported if it earns respect. And on the flipside of that, far too few game studios give off a vibe not of experimenting with monetization but of maximizing profits above all else while barely veiling their greed.
However, outside the MMO world, there is a company that’s been doing it “right” for a long time: Nintendo. The AAA developer/publisher is known for both innovation and hesitance, following in others’ footsteps with great trepidation, trying to figure out the ins and outs while entering the mobile market long after it’s been established. The company recently released a new mobile title, but what’s interesting is that it and the company’s last four games are all different genres with different monetization strategies. Exploring these titles and their relationship to their monetization plans will not only highlight the potential success of the models but hint at why they work and how they can be curbed into models gamers and lawmakers can better accept.
Don’t be too mad at Star Wars: Battlefront II. It’s a symptom of a problem, not the cause. I mean, be mad at people dumb enough to put the blame for negative reactions on the press, that’s just plain stupid. But at the heart of the matter is a problem that’s actually choking through game development all the way down the line.
Because while people are talking about “well, maybe games need to cost more” (and that aforementioned none-too-wise comment of an analyst does precisely that), the reality is that this would still be happening no matter what. The problem is not a matter of Battlefront II costing too little money to pay for its development. The problem is that design and budgets are broken, the market is a mess, and microtransactions are being used as a bludgeon instead of a tool.
And all of this is exacerbated by the fact that every single publisher wants to pretend that everything is peachy.
Stately resting between the gaudy purple and orange of Halloween and merry red and green of Christmas is the earth tone-saturated Thanksgiving. While no one’s favorite color scheme, Thanksgiving does give us a nice in-between holiday with family meals, an awkward dance around politics, a work day for football teams, and the occasional MMORPG holiday event.
While not every online game has decided to embrace the American holiday, enough pop up every year that need corralling. And since we just got turkey certified here at Massively OP, we’re going to lay out all of this week’s event options for you on a platter. So enjoy the festivities and dressing up like a Pilgrim for two days maximum before deeply questioning that fashion sense. Now jingly sleigh bells, size XXXL red suits, and reindeer antlers, that’s a smart look indeed!
ZeniMax announced this past week that it is giving away a free Nix-Ox mount to all players who have purchased the Morrowind expansion. To claim the mount, you will need to log into the game by November 26th. And yes, this promotion is good for anyone who decides to purchase and play Morrowind over the next week as well!
This is the latest in a string of promotions and deals for Elder Scrolls Online around its anniversary. Recently, the game gave out a pair of clockwork pets and deeply discounted some of its DLC packs.
This week’s Massively Overthinking topic is a submission from reader and commenter camelotcrusade, who takes the industry’s current fight over monetization in a different direction from lockboxes. “Are modern games too cheap?” he asks, probably slowly reaching into a can of worms with a wicked gleam in his eye.
“When you think about it, many other things we buy have increased in price over the last decade but AAA games are still expected to be a maximum of $60, with many of us waiting for sales (or for free-to-play). Meanwhile, games everywhere are adding shops, post-release content, and DLC galore with increasingly aggressive pricing models. How much of this is to make-up margins they can’t capture up-front? How much should an AA game cost in 2017? $75? $90? Is there a price point where lockboxes, gambling, and in-game stores could focus on value-add instead of survival? And how did we get here? Whose fault is it? And how do we get out of this, or is ‘would you like a game with your store’ the future as we know it?”
Let’s talk money!