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.
Just ahead of this year’s E3, Ubisoft is rolling out The Crew 2’s closed beta – that’s May 31st through June 4th, and yep, it’s on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, with preload beginning on the 29th. What sort of vroom-vroom content will you be testing?
“During the Closed Beta, players will experience the first level of the progression system as they compete in races across the first four disciplines – Street Race, Rally Raid, Powerboat and Aerobatics – against the backdrop of a fully redesigned U.S.A via land, water and air. To create more adrenaline-fueled experiences, players can use the Fast-Fav feature and instantly switch their vehicle type depending on the type of terrain they will encounter: an airplane flying underneath San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge can turn into a boat with the touch of a button.”
The game was originally announced a year ago with a launch date of March 2018, but it was delayed, first to a vague summer window and then to June 29th, a date that apparently will hold firm. We played at at E3 last year when it was still pretty far away, and we actually liked it even then, which is a great sign. Preorders and closed beta signups are on the official site, and the new trailers are below!
How big a deal with the lootbox controversy that finally hit the mainstream last year? Pretty big, SuperData argues. In a new blog post, the analytics firm argues that “the loot box controversy hampered Star Wars Battlefront II out of the gate” as shown by the game’s monthly active users compared to its predecessor’s, and that the resulting dumpster fire has caused publishers to rethink lootboxes and self-regulate or at least modulate their greed – an effect we’ve already seen in the MMO industry too.
“At the upcoming E3, we’re likely to see presenters announce ‘no loot boxes’ or that paid content is ‘cosmetic only’ in order to get on the good side of creators and hardcore gamers,” SuperData predicts. “Loot boxes won’t disappear anytime soon given their success in games like Overwatch (over $600M of loot boxes sold through February 2018). In the short term, though, ‘No loot boxes’ will be the game industry’s own ‘gluten free water’ — and we’re likely to even see this slogan used to market titles where loot boxes would not make sense such as adventure games.”
It’s officially Sea of Thieves day; the game launched here in the US in the wee hours of this morning. During our awards rollout at the end of 2017, I called Sea of Thieves one of my most anticipated multiplayer games for 2018. At the time, I could easily imagine my MMORPG guildies, already fond of playing pirates, rolling into the game to crew a ship on the high seas.
But last year’s hype seems to have faded away over the last few months as a critical mass of gamers checked out the pre-launch version of the game and came away with more questions than answers about the game’s PvE content, its unchecked PvP, and maybe above all else, its downsized character creation system. It never was an MMO, but these revelations made it seem even less an MMO than a lot of folks had been led to believe after the E3 demos, subduing the buzz.
How about you? Are you playing Sea of Thieves? Are you waiting to see how it develops? Or have you given it a hard pass?
The Crew 2 isn’t as delayed as you might’ve thought: Ubisoft just announced that it’s launching on June 29th, and it’s looking like a simultaneous PC, PS4, and Xbox release.
“The Crew 2 will let players experience the thrill of American motorsports inside a fully redesigned USA. The game’s playground pushes physical boundaries to let driving and open world fans test their skills, solo or with friends, in nonstop competition and exploration. From coast to coast, drivers will explore America and compete to become the greatest motorsports champion, by collecting a wide variety of exotic cars, bikes, boats and planes, and dominating the motorsports scene on the land, on the water and in the air. Players will find challenges and inspiration among four different motorsports families: street racing, off-road, pro racing and freestyle, and will be given a broad set of options among a wide selection of vehicle types.”
MMO players will recall that the sequel to The Crew was originally announced just before E3 of last year, and by summer, it had a release date. That release date would’ve been tomorrow, incidentally. But in December, Ubisoft admitted it needed more time for TC2 and several other games, pushing the date somewhere between spring and fall of this year.
The studio behind The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t mincing words when it comes to business practices that involve lockboxes and partially delivered games.
“If you buy a full priced game, you should get a big, polished piece of content, which gives you many, many hours of fun gameplay,” said Co-Founder Marcin Iwiński. “The moment [the community] feels you are reaching out for their wallet in any unfair way, they will be vocal about it. And — frankly speaking — I think it’s good for the industry. Things often look great from a spreadsheet perspective, but decision makers often aren’t asking themselves the question of ‘How would gamers feel, or is this offer a fair one?’ Gamers are striking back, and I really hope this will change our industry for the better.”
Iwiński said that the studio is focusing on its sci-fi game instead of another Witcher title: “In terms of big RPGs, it’s time for Cyberpunk 2077.” He admitted that the game is “a huge responsibility” but that the studio will step up to the challenge and deliver.
Fans should be able to hear about and see more of Cyberpunk 2077, as the title is widely rumored to be coming to this year’s E3 in June.
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 Vendetta Online, Worlds Adrift, Monster Hunter World, Hellion, Rust, Skyforge, Blade and Soul, Portal Knights, Final Fantasy XI, Dreadnought, PUBG, Hyper Universe, Crossout, Black Desert, Dark and Light, H1Z1, Dauntless, Robocraft, Fortnite, War of Rights, Cosmos Invictus, Ultima Online, and Vendetta Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Sea of Thieves’ closed beta for PC and Xbox One kicked off earlier today, and it’s not going that well. Or rather, it’s going so incredibly well with so many people rushing the high seas that bugs are swarming the decks.
“Pirates! We’re aware some players are getting a ‘too early’ error when attempting to launch the Sea of Thieves Closed Beta,” Rare tweeted early this morning. “We’re currently all hands on deck investigating and will provide updates ASAP.” A similar message was blasted out two hours ago on Twitter and an hour later on Reddit, suggesting the studio is still working on the problem. The game’s subreddit is a sea of bug reports and complaints that all boil down to this same issue too. But hey, no big deal, right – you didn’t take off work to beta an online game! Right, guys? Guys?
We’ve tucked the closed beta launch trailer down below, along with a quick roundup of all our coverage of the game since its announcement back in 2015; it’s a lot of content, both because we’re excited about this hybrid MMO-ish game and because Rare has been really consistent at delivering updates all along. We’re partial to our hands-on with the game back at E3 – that should give you something to flip through while you wait!
Following a single “beep” of Twitter activity last week, CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 holds the rapt attention of gamers across the world who are eager to see development on this long-awaited sci-fi game. They might not have to wait too, too long.
Polish game news site GRYOnline revealed that Cyberpunk 2077 will be coming to E3 in June with a playable demo and a new trailer. The information allegedly comes from two trusted but unnamed sources.
“We’ve recently learned that the Warsaw-based studio will fly to Los Angeles with a fully playable demo that will be available for journalists and other media representatives behind closed doors,” the site said. “Until CD Projekt Red officially announces that Cyberpunk 2077 will be shown during E3, there is absolutely no certainty that this will happen. However, we strongly believe that our sources are right.”
Way back in 2016, No Man’s Sky was all anyone talked about thanks to misleading hype positioning the game in the stratosphere. In fact, the multiplayer features that were teased (and apparently planned in spite of claims to the contrary) didn’t actually launch with the game, contributing to a regulatory investigation (which went nowhere). It was particularly disappointing to the MMO community, which didn’t believe NMS was itself an MMO but had been looking forward to online and social features, to the point that we were all deeply disappointed when it didn’t happen.
Some of that disappointment vanished last summer, when Hello Games emerged from its self-imposed PR silence with a new patch introducing “joint exploration,” which wasn’t exactly co-op multiplayer; instead, the devs called it “an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man’s Sky” – and we called it the first step into turning the game into what was originally advertised.
Players are now taking even more next steps. As Kotaku first reported, a player modder – RaYRoD – undertook a huge overhaul mod to basically reintroduce a lot of the planned features that people noted weren’t actually in the launched game.
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
Easily the high point of the year, June saw the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind and Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood, along with the relaunch of The Secret World as Secret World Legends.
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar launched a controversial equity crowdfunding campaign, Cryptic announced a Magic the Gathering MMORPG, and we got a look at Skull & Bones, Sea of Thieves, and Anthem at E3. We also confirmed that Neowiz and Aeria had cut ties, leaving the former to bring Bless Online westward alone.
Read on for the whole list!
A couple of weeks ago I covered 20(ish) MMORPGs that we are looking forward to seeing develop, test, and launch in 2018. But as you well may know, Massively OP covers a small university’s worth of “not-so-massively” multiplayer games that have some crossover into the MMO space. We do this because it gives some people much-needed gripe fuel and also because a lot of our readership is also interested in these games.
There is a lot of movement in the multiplayer game space, especially as the larger video game market continues to adapt and hew to MMO design. It’s a blended mess as we continually try to sort these games out into their proper categories, but while we do that, you can enjoy this list of 20 multiplayer games that you should be tracking in 2018. From survival sandboxes to pirate simulators to sequels, here we go!
One of my favorite things to do every year is drill down the top articles on the site for our readers. I don’t mean the most controversial, the most fun, the most important, or the most commented-on; I mean the single articles that actually brought in the most hits. And what I find most interesting is that most “popular” aren’t always the ones we expect! As we’ve noted before, a well-timed link from a major website – Reddit, Fark, or a game dev – can elevate an entire month. (That’s why we’re so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks!)
Just remember that the list favors posts made early in the year (and in some cases, evergreen articles from earlier years) as later pieces haven’t had as much time to percolate, so when you do see big articles from December on a list like this, that means a popular post indeed!