Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.
Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?
That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at whatever happened to Black Gold, Order and Chaos Online, and Eden Eternal.
What is Chronicles of Elyria? We first learned about the game and its goal to redefine the MMORPG genre back in 2015. Since then, CoE has been developing steadily, especially after the huge influx of capital gained through Kickstarter and then on-site crowdfunding. Folks could follow the progress through numerous dev blogs, videos, and even the chance to test bits of gameplay at various PAXs. Some bits of that development, however, have raised questions; prospective players have voiced concerns about the pay-to-win and gankbox stigmas, the complex tribe system, and the admittedly broad scope of the game.
I sat down with Executive Producer Vye Alexander and CEO/Creative Director Jeromy Walsh at PAX West to discuss these issues and more.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s latest newsletter heralds a state-of-the-game missive spread out over four pages of content. Visionary Realms notes that its Series A funding round allowed it to hire new staff, including a technical artist who’s been hard at work on lighting in the game and building out the studio’s own forks of Unity’s lighting systems.
“We aren’t happy to just run with default systems,” Technical Artist Bruno Rime says. “We’re creating something that is better suited to an MMO and, more specifically, suited to Pantheon.” He argues that lighting is critical not just for actually seeing but for immersive parts of the game, like its diurnal cycle.
“Our first implementation of the new system is a simple directional light setup — an image based ambient light that covers our physically based renderer scenes. The next stage is rolling out our own time of day system, which allows the lighting to become more dynamic. We’re writing our own shadow system to help cope with the restrictions of an MMO or in our case, the massive scenes.”
Sometimes MMORPG players might get the feeling that game companies will let just about anything slide in order to keep the most revenue streaming in, but that’s not the case with one particular hopeful City of Heroes successor: Ship of Heroes. Studio Heroic Games is predicating the game on a positive atmosphere, which starts from the ground up.
At this year’s PAX West, I sat down with CEO Casey McGeever to talk about the game: where it’s coming from, where it is now, and where it’s going. We discussed funding, rivalries, community, and the wild backstory about the massive ship that heroes will be living on. After that, I attended the CoH successor panel to hear about the three largest superhero MMORPG games currently in development. Let’s suit up and dig in.
Have you found yourself playing Master x Master
and thinking that the game was just too darn generous with currency? Probably not, but then, you aren’t NCsoft
and thus trying to derive a profit from the game. A new post on the official site
explains that the studio believes the game was giving out too much SOL (the currency earned just from play) and not offering enough advantage to players using X-Coins (the currency bought for real money). So the economy is changing.
Nightmare mode will no longer cost SOL, X-Coin prices on unlocking Masters will go down, and SOL costs for most Master items will go up. The stated reason is that players were earning too much progress for free and there was a severe imbalance, but the Reddit thread in response is full of players who feel unlocking Masters is already expensive and making their items more expensive just limits the game for no player benefits.
However you feel about the changes, you’ll want to spend your SOL before September 13th, when the changes are set to roll out to everyone regardless of opinion.
Resources matter in Albion Online, and major changes to the respawn rates of resources is going to shake up the game’s economy significantly. The latest patch to the game (live today) doesn’t get a new name, but it does significantly alter the respawns of all higher-tier resources. Tier 2 and Tier 3 resources have had their respawn rates reduced to pre-launch numbers, while Tier 4 resources have rates slightly above the original resources. That’s going to alter the game’s makeup pretty significantly.
Of course, players are also going to be dealing with runes and souls dropping from chests at five times their previous rates, so that’s going to alter things even further. The patch also will prevent people traveling to the Outlands and then teleporting right back from retaining any region or portal locks; you’ll have to remain there for at least a minute. Add in the usual array of bug fixes, and voila, you have a small patch that will probably have significant effects upon the game as a whole.
Thus far when playing OrbusVR, players have had no ability to send private messages to one another. As a result, you’ve had to rely on context clues; perhaps your friend is running toward you screaming while brandishing a sword because she’s bringing you a free sword and she’s very excited. When the game’s second closed beta starts up, though, she’ll be able to send you a quick message to let you know ahead of time that she’s doing a new cardio routine requiring her to run and scream, and the sword is a good weight to use when it’s over her head.
Players will be able to send private messages to friends or Fellowship members, with Fellowships also getting added to the game (if you’re thinking that sounds like a guild by another name, good job). There’s also new market stall functionality, so NPCs run by players can just sell you stuff and you can buy it. And if dealing with a merchant’s prices cause you to subsequently run around screaming with a sword over your head, well, you can send messages about that.
If you were hoping that another title would pick up the idea of a voxel world and run with it, you’re getting your wish. I met with Jean-Christophe Baillie, the president and founder of NovaQuark, at PAX West. He showed off the pre-alpha build of his company’s voxel sandbox, Dual Universe. After zooming across the planet, building a ship, terraforming, and then blasting off to the moon to do it all again, I believe this subscription-based game (which begins its pre-alpha for backers on September 30th) may very well be the home that players who’ve been wishing for a voxel-based world have waited for.
Baillie defines Dual Universe: “We give more creativity freedom to the players: They can build the ships they want, the environment they want, the houses they want. It’s about freedon to create anything you like.”
During this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I wondered whether any MMORPGs with ongoing in-game costs and timers might disable them because of Hurricane Harvey — specifically, we were thinking of how SOE famously and generously turned off all in-game maintenance fees and timers for Star Wars Galaxies during and after Katrina, ensuring that a catastrophe in real life that cost some players their real homes wouldn’t also result in a virtual disaster inside the virtual world.
Maybe Ultima Online was listening because Broadsword just announced that it’ll do effectively the same thing.
“We are turning off housing decay for the whole month of September starting today (9/1/2017) to try to help any of our players that are having to go through the disaster occuring in Texas at this time. Our hearts and prayers go out to you and your families.”
Remember back in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
, when a shave and a haircut cost you a nickel and a WoW token was selling for about 35,000 gold? Those days are long over, my friend, and it looks like it’s only going to get pricier from here.
Blizzard Watch reports that the cost for a WoW token is on the rise once again, nearly topping 166,000 gold on the North American auction house this week. This is most definitely due to Destiny 2’s PC beta — and it is not the first time that this upcoming Blizzard Activision game has rocked the WoW token economy.
WoW tokens took an expected uptick at the launch of Legion, but they didn’t really start shooting up astronomically until back in February when Blizzard allowed players to redeem them for store currency in addition to World of Warcraft gametime.
Legends of Aria is coming back bigger and better for its final alpha playtest.
Citadel Studios announced that it has set the launch date for the MMO’s last alpha as September 21st. When the game returns next month, it will sport massive improvements over the previous versions. Some of these changes include dozens of new abilities, more weapons and armor pieces, hundreds of additional items, new lands to explore, and new places to settle.
It’s been a while since the game last had an alpha test; Alpha 2 ended a month ago, and the team subsequently promised that Alpha 3 (now the final alpha) would incorporate many of the game’s sandbox features and introduce the redesigned item economy.
I questioned BioWare
‘s delay of the latest update for Star Wars: The Old Republic
. According to a post on the official forums
, the team decided to delay the launch of Crisis on Umbara because of a bug that could “prevent a substantial amount of gameplay when a player experiences it, from not playing the intro cinematic to not allowing re-entry into the instance.” Before reading the explanation, I joked to friends about the delay, saying that something must have happened to break the cash shop, otherwise, BioWare would never delay an update. It would just be released and fix it later in a patch.
But since it was delayed for legitimate reasons, the update should be bug-free, right? We will talk about that in a bit.
BioWare did eventually release the update on Thursday morning, actually. And I spent all of yesterday playing through the instance on different classes in story and veteran mode. It wasn’t too bad, and it’s certainly worth tossing a few bucks at BioWare if you like a little bit of group activity in SWTOR. Let’s break that down.
Darkfall: New Dawn, one of a pair of indie-led player efforts to keep MMO sandbox Darkfall going after original studio Aventurine abandoned it last year, has a gorgeous new roadmap out this week addressing the current state of the build. Studio Ub3rgames says it believes it’s more than three-quarters of the way done with the game since last summer, with most of the work going toward PvE, combat, PvP, quality-of-life upgrades, and performance. The economy and virtual world, the team admits, has seen the least focus so far. The active players seem pretty pleased!
Most recently, Ub3rgames released patch 3.13, “switching into a higher gear” with what it dubbed “the great magic overhaul.” It’s essentially a complete do-over for the magic system that revamps secondary spell effects as well as adds a preliminary king-of-the-hill village control system, guild perks, armor durability retooling, collision system updates, performance upgrades, and dynamic tombstones, which sound festive and might be worth a relook if you’ve been standing on the sidelines of development.