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 World of Warplanes, World of Warships Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Sea of Thieves, Skull and Bones, Old School RuneScape, SMITE, War Thunder, Neverwinter, and Pokemon Go, all waiting for you after the break!
Staxel took over the playtime of a bunch of my Twitter buddies this past winter when it hit early access on Steam. We described it as a cross between Stardew Valley and Trove, with sandboxy content that’s more focused on farming, fishing, and growing a village than on being a murder hobo. At the time, we noted that it wasn’t full-on MMORPG but that multiplayer at least was happening.
Since then, the game’s seen several updates, as I realized when I caved and bought the game on the Steam sale yesterday. March saw tweaks to the camera and economy; April touched on the mod manager, achievements, crop quality. Most recently, the team posted its plans for the 1.3 update, which further fleshes out the NPCs of the world, adds a pet shop, and integrates festivals into gameplay.
Automaton Games CEO James Thompson came along with Improbable, Bill Roper, and Mavericks to this year’s E3, where I got a second chance to see how everything in the battle royale/MMO hybrid is doing since GDC. I know battle royale is a hot topic around here, and the reaction we saw at GDC did have me worried about Mavericks’ potential audience.
Thompson was quite eager to talk about Mavericks, especially its battle royale side, but as someone who’s much more of an MMORPG player, I felt the one key thing we found common ground on was that Mavericks is aiming to be less of a simple genre game and more of a “platform” to build on, not because of any strength of the BR or even MMO genre but because of its ability to run a simulation. For virtual world fans, this is something I feel we should be paying more attention to.
One of Project Gorgon’s old-school-made-new-again features is the incorporation of player vendors. And while that’s all well and good to let players sell their own wares, it does present a problem when it comes to browsing and finding the items that you want to buy from others.
Enter catalog golems: “These adorable little constructs will be happy to search the player vendors for specific items on your behalf, and let you know which shops have what you need. The golems can’t tell you how much the price is, and they don’t deliver the goods, but they also don’t demand tips.”
These golems are just part of this past week’s patch for the indie MMO. Other features of the update include the ability for NPCs to install augments for players, more damage-over-time tweaks for skills, and plenty of additional improvements and fixes.
Outpost Games sent round a mailer this week announcing that SOS Battle Royale is now “free to play forever,” thanks to its latest patch, content update 4, which adds “a ton of new weapons, loads of new outfits, leaderboards, and a Season Pass through which you can earn great rewards.” Sounds nice, right?
Well, maybe take a jaunt over to Steam, where the game’s recent reviews have sunk to “overwhelmingly negative.” You’ll recall that the original idea behind the game was to toss 16 players into a map and have them play a 30-minute match to find a relic and escape in a helicopter, with up to three winners per match and the chance to coordinate via voice chat. There were plenty of survival mechanics along the way, including making your own weapons and traps to survive as the audience cheered you on a la Running Man.
It’s been a year since Dark and Light went into early access, and the game has been updating ever since that launch. To celebrate, the game is giving players more reasons to get into it, starting by taking part in the Steam summer sale at half the usual price. But if that’s not enough to entice you? Perhaps you need the addition of an expansion for the game at some point later this summer, because that’s happening.
While we don’t yet know all of the details, players will definitely be able to reach new heights of power whilst fighting against encroaching evil planes and exploring a new playable map. It’s also one of those big free updates for those who own the game, and that’s on top of buffed drop rates for the title during the Steam sale. So if you want to get in and start playing now, well, you’ve got all the reasons in the world to get ready for something bigger.
Bless Online hasn’t quite yet dug out of the hole it made for itself during its early access launch, but at least Neowiz has identified the most important step to take in improving the game’s chances: server stability and consolidation.
A producer’s letter posted on Friday talked about the next steps that the studio will be taking to make the servers a better place on which to play. The good news is that Neowiz has tracked down a key issue that was causing serious server issues and has since corrected it, causing the sahrds to become more stable.
The studio also said that now the rush to check out the game is over, it will be consolidating servers down to four: two in North America and two in Europe. Ever the hopeful studio, Neowiz did say that it will keep the remaining temporary servers on hand if and when they are needed for the game’s official launch. Details are forthcoming about the server merges and how they will affect players and their items.
The merges are tenatively scheduled for the end of July, to be followed by the release of the Siege of Castra 70v70 mode.
Bless Online is trucking out a brand-new patch today. The highlight is the Certanon Arena, essentially a 3v3 best-of-five PvP minigame for level 45 toons; it’s subject to time gating, do note, and opens only at 6 p.m. EDT each evening. Neowiz has also performed a wide-ranging balancing patch on armor, with effects that pertain to every class in the game. Every class is further seeing its own tweaks; Berserkers and Rangers in particular will be pleased as punch with their righteous buffs.
Meanwhile on Reddit, players are currently debating whether the game should merge servers as a result of the loss of players – or they would be, if most of the threads calling for merges weren’t apparently being wiped away by the mods. A few stragglers referring to those threads do remain; one asserts that the studio might not care it’s losing players – after all, as one poster argued, “they’ve already got your money.”
The game peaked around 34,000 concurrent players at the beginning of its early access launch. Within the last day, peak concurrency has fallen to just over 7000 on Steam Charts.
On the prowl for an undiscovered indie MMORPG these days? You might want to check out Gran Skrea Online, as it just went into early access this past weekend.
According to the team, Gran Skrea “combines a desire for new player-defined MMORPG mechanics with influences from classic RPGs like RuneScape, Ultima Online, and The Elder Scrolls.” It’s $9 right now through June 23rd, which isn’t the most exorbitant price we’ve ever seen, and there’s an official Discord set up already.
The sandbox MMORPG sends players “to create their own destiny in an original world of medieval fantasy.” This apparently means a mixture of quests, “ruthless” PvP combat, guilds, and economy. There are already quite a few features in place, including player housing, a criminal flagging system, lots of crafting, and a game world with plenty of lore. There’s more to be added in the early access program, so features such as territorial warfare, auction houses, and naval warfare are still in development.
Get an early look at Gran Skrea after the jump!
When I met Frostkeep Studios’ CEO Jeremy Wood and crew at GDC earlier this year, I walked away impressed. I finally felt like I understood why other MOP staff are so excited about this flying-under-the-radar title. And this year at E3, I not only saw a more finished build of Rend but got some hands-on time with the game. I can’t say the floor demo did the game any justice, but what I heard from Wood and co-founder Solomon Lee sounded like the kind of forward thinking that only comes from developers who know the history of the genre and their playerbase.
Although I think I could start a hype train, I’m going to try to try to reserve judgment for a little longer. Rend may not be an MMO (it’s a moddable survival game with factions), but it has the potential to feed that MMO hunger we know you’re craving.
Bohemia Interactive, the developer behind DayZ, knows what it does well, and it’s going to continue to create games within its specific field of expertise. The studio just announced its next title at E3 this week called Vigor, and yup, it’s a multiplayer survival shooter.
Vigor takes place in a post-war 1991 Norway where players have to grab everything that’s not nailed down and attempt to survive. There’s prooooobably going to be some snow here, considering the country, so pack your long johns.
“Turn a shelter into your home. Fight, run or hide. Take risks, claim rewards. Survive this cut-throat experience,” the official website said.
The big bummer here? Vigor is exclusive to the Xbox One, so you’ll either have to access it through that platform or look wistfully at some screenshots for the rest of your life. Early access signups are currently open through the website.
Bless Online Executive Producer Sungjin Ko is back with another letter for the community today, this one offering insight into why Neowiz picked early access in the first place, especially given the game’s rocky reception. In short, it’s because Neowiz did so much rewriting of the game for western audiences and really wanted western audiences to give it a thorough testing.
“Ultimately, this desire to try something new with the systems of Bless Online combined with the need for an open discussion with our player base led us to Steam’s Early Access platform,” Ko explains. “It allows us to make sure we have the funds to continue supporting Bless, while also working directly with our players to make Bless everything it can be and more. […] Where we are today with Bless Online’s Steam Early Access is not where we will be when the game officially launches in the coming months. As you hopefully have seen, we’ve been hard at work addressing feedback, making changes, fixing bugs, and working to make the best game for both Neowiz Bless studio and our fans.”
So here’s a new one for the consideration pile: An MMORPG called Warlords Awakening has just dropped on Steam. Developer Playwith says it’s in the “last stages of development,” with launch planned for October and early access expected to run three months – meaning we should expect that early access in the next few weeks.
“Warlords Awakening arrives with vast and beautiful maps to explore. Areas invaded by hordes of monsters that challenge the strength of even the most powerful lords. Dangerous dungeons guarded by the most terrifying enemies await those willing to challenge them. With a revolutionary Action-MMORPG style, you can change your Battle Stance mid-combat with 3 different skill trees instantly. Pets are more than just companions! Rareness and the race of your pets will all come into play as they provide distinct benefits to help you along your journey. Some can be used as mounts to help you go wherever you would like.”
Is it a real MMO? Looks like it – the devs are touting “thousands of adventures” in the same space. It’s set to include both PvE and PvP modes, five classes, 30 zones, and six dungeons, with more coming at launch.