Note: We’ve updated this piece heavily at the end with Daybreak’s statements and further links.
A chain of business connections could have a real and dire impact on Daybreak Games Company following the freezing of company assets by the U.S. government.
On April 6th, the U.S. Department of the Treasury targeted several Russian oligarchs and froze their assets due to “destabilizing activities” by these figures (including suspected interference in the 2016 U.S. election). One of the oligarchs so punished was Viktor Vekselberg, who owns the Renova Group conglomerate and its subsidiary, Columbus Nova.
Columbus Nova, you may recall, is the parent company of Daybreak Games. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control has given Renova and other Russian companies until June 5th to “wind down operations, contracts, or other agreements” involving these figures.
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 Uncharted Waters Online, The Division, Paladins, TERA, Reign of Guilds, War Thunder, Escape from Tarkov, Magic the Gathering Arena, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Wakfu, ARK Park, EverQuest II, Pokemon Go, Elder Scrolls Online, Crossout, EverQuest, Neverwinter, Citadel, and Kritika Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Massively OP reader Steve wants us to revisit the Daily Grind on making death more meaningful without making it more annoying. His letter was long, so let me paraphrase a bit:
“It feels to me like underlying point was, ‘MMOs are too easy, so how do we make them harder?’ The question of video game difficulty is something that is seldom ever tackled head-on, as it tends to draw out a somewhat vocal minority. There are so many worthy topics about how people define difficulty, twitch skills vs. depth, easy vs. hard, difficulty vs. accessibility, easy vs. engaging, shallowness vs. depth, and so on. These are things I’d love to really see discussed more online, and very few sites will actually touch it. But I think that MOP’s community is overall mature enough to actually have some discussions about this without it devolving into a fist fight.”
I’m sure you’ll prove him right! Right, guys? Guys? So let’s talk about MMO difficulty in this week’s Massively Overthinking. What do we really mean when we talk about “difficulty” in MMORPGs? Are games easier than they used to be, and if so, is there something studios should do to change that?
It may not be the Highest of Silly Days, but Bristlebane is still going in EverQuest II. And that means plenty of silliness for Massively OP’s MJ to partake in. Crazy quests and crazier rewards await, so join us live at 8:00 p.m. for the final days of this festival.
What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
Spring has sprung! And for EverQuest II, that means a return of Beast’r Eggs and Bristlebane. Norrathians get to celebrate the season by immersing themselves in frivolity and fun, pranks and pets, egg hunts and event rewards… but only for a limited time.
More than most events, these two are time sensitive. While the Bristlebane Day festival startes yesterday and goes for two weeks, The Highest of Silly Days is only one day — April 1st. And the Beast’r Eggstravaganza only lasts a single week, ending early on the 4th. The chances of missing out on the semore time-limited festivities is too high, so I’m going to help you make sure you can catch these celebrations this year! I’ve got tips and tricks as well as a general guide to help you make the most of both festivals.
What are your favorite memories of those first few days in a brand-new MMORPG? Chances are that those memories are inextricably connected to the music of these beginning areas. On today’s episode of Battle Bards, the crew revisits starting zone themes to talk about the experience of those first critical steps in an online game — and the songs that connect us forever to that.
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 118: More starting zone themes (or download it) now:
Fey mushroom rings are sprouting all over EverQuest II, marking the return of the monthly Moonlight Enchantments event. This one-day-only event comes and goes every 20th and 21st of the month. What’s interesting with this recurrence is that Daybreak is hinting that there might be a change with this event come April.
“Though the rings have appeared as usual this month, we’ve got a peculiar feeling that something new may be involved the next time around,” the studio teased.
Additionally, the studio is running a spring screenshot contest through March 29th. Players who enter a winning submission could win 1,000 Daybreak Cash, which we assume can be used as a down payment on a car or home.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been enjoying the journey through RIFT Prime, the game’s first progression server. Trion Worlds surprised and delighted many of us when it announced that it would be creating a slightly more difficult, vastly more cash shop-free shard that would take players through the entirety of the RIFT experience from vanilla through the latest expansion.
As I’ve reset the clock on my RIFT adventures, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the benefits of progression servers. With a lot of World of Warcraft fans wondering if Classic will eventually morph into a progression shard (which I certainly hope it does), and with games like EverQuest and EverQuest II repeatedly embracing the alternative ruleset, I think we could be moving into an era where older MMOs experience new life with this relatively simple move.
So why are MMO progression servers a brilliant idea? Here are 10 thoughts on the matter.
There are MMOs that have been around a while, and then there is EverQuest. It’s so old school it is old enough to be out of school! Yup, EQ turned 19 years old yesterday. That’s 19 years of the iconic music, 19 years of Qeynos, and 19 years of Fippy trying to storm that gate! So much has happened in Norrath between March 16th, 1999, and March 16th, 2018 – more than one single restrospective could cover. So we’ll just look at a single year!
As is tradition, I’ve sat back and looked over the previous year, remembering the highlights and goings on of the game. How did the 19th year play out for one of the oldest MMOs? Sadly, this year was of the leaner variety; not much happened across Norrath. You wouldn’t know that by all the anniversary offerings, though! Take a stroll down the cobbled lane of memories, but don’t get lost in the nostalgia; there are oodles of anniversary quests to fill your schedule with during the celebration, going on now through Thursday, May 10th, 2018.
This week, The Ancient Gaming Noob posted up an image of RIFT Prime, where Trion asks people to… play nice. “Just a neighborly reminder that 1-29 chat is for RIFT chat, ideally things relevant to level 1-29 gameplay,” the UI HUD reads. “Please be good to each other. We’ve muted some and shall mute again. Have a great evening!”
Meanwhile, over in Trion’s Trove, I’ve had to report-and-block dozens of fellow players just in the last few days for disgusting slurs in multiple languages, stuff the filter doesn’t catch. For a free-to-play game that’s also on console, yeah, I guess I expect no better from the playerbase. But but but RIFT Prime is subscription-based. Surely that means a strong community, where such polite warnings from developers aren’t necessary? Yeah, not so much, as anyone who played old-school MMORPGs can tell you. This is a problem even in games whose devs prioritize community and care a whole lot.
So this week, let’s talk about in-game chat. Do you use it? Do you watch it? Do you turn it off? Is it really terrible everywhere, or just in some games? Which one is the worst and the best, and what should developers do about chat specifically?
A festival dedicated to getting sloshed? No, this isn’t college life — it’s EverQuest II’s Brewday! Every year near St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration dedicated to libations runs throughout Norrath. There are drunken quests to do, pink elephants and talking cabbages to collect, tons of themed crafts to make, and plenty of drinks to partake of. This year’s festival runs from March 6th at 3:00 a.m. EST to March 20th at 2:59 a.m. EDT.
While it is disappointing that Daybreak has not added any new content to the festival for 2018, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do. And there are a couple new items to acquire — namely a spiffy griffon mount and the next crafting recipe book. Here’s a guide to get you through the weeks of revelry. You can also get a visual walkthrough of some tasks by watching The Stream Team festival escapades from 2015, 2016, and 2018.
What does the color green, beer, and garish carousels have in common? EverQuest II’s Brewday, of course! It must be from one of those Elf sub-sub-races, you know, the Sprite-rish.
Anyway, Brewfest is raging in EverQuest II from March 6th through the 19th, bringing back the previous round of refreshments and quests while adding some new crafting items and Brew Barrel Carousel set for players to use in their homes. Sadly, this looks to be more cosmetic than an actual ride, but you can always twirl your monitor around and pretend.
In other EQ2 news, the Fallen Gate progression server just unlocked the Echoes of Faydwer expansion. This gives players on that shard a lot more to work with, including the Alternate Advancement class trees, more crafting professions, and six heritage rewards that will transfer to live servers.
Whether you want to raise a toast or drown your virtual sorrows, EverQuest II’s Brewday festival is the place to do it. The annual celebration of being sloshed started today and runs through March 20th at 2:59 a.m. (EDT). While there doesn’t appear to be any new quests to complete, there is a new mount to get and wild boar loot that drops from Hammy in High Keep, so Massively OP’s MJ is diving in to chug, chug, chug! some festival goodness. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. and have an ale or 10 with us.
What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018