Next week’s Seeds of Vengeance update for EverQuest II should give the population plenty to do as the game heads into the summer months. Daybreak continued to expand upong the patch’s offerings with a look at new expert dungeons and fast travel options.
GU106 will add expert and expert event dungeons to all Planes of Prophecy instances. You know the drill: higher challenge equals better rewards. The patch also includes an Elixir of the Expert to boost a character’s stats for such dungeons even if they’re somewhat underleveled.
The devs are also helping players zip around the game: “Druzzil Ro has removed the restrictions from the teleportation platforms in Plane of Magic, and opened two new pathways to Metetherial Plains and Amphitheater of Song. Fast travelling from one location to another is as simple as stepping on your closest teleportation platform and choosing your destination.”
HATE. LET INNORUUK TELL YOU HOW MUCH HE’S COME TO HATE YOU SINCE HE BEGAN TO LIVE. THERE IS AN ENTIRE DIMENSION THAT SPANS FOR UNTOLD LENGTHS KNOWN AS THE SHARD OF HATE, REFORMED TO BE EVEN MORE SPITEFUL SINCE HE LOST HIS SEAT OF HATRED. IF THE WORD HATE WAS ENGRAVED ON EACH NANOANGSTROM OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MILES IT WOULD NOT EQUAL ONE ONE-BILLIONTH OF THE HATE HE FEELS FOR MORTALS AT THIS MICRO-INSTANT. OBVIOUSLY THAT IS YOUR NEXT DESTINATION IN EVERQUEST II. HATE. HATE.
THE SHARD OF HATE IS FILLED WITH DENIZENS UNDER INNORUUK’S COMMAND WHO WILL EXERCISE HIS WILL AND THIS SLIVER OF HATE IS REPLETE WITH WAYS TO EXACT HIS MISERABLE SPITE UPON THOSE WITHIN. ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE REACHED LEVEL 110 MAY CHALLENGE THIS PLACE OF ANIMOSITY, WITH ALL ACCESS MEMBERS GETTING THE RIGHT TO TAKE THIS ON IN SOLO, RAID, OR HEROIC VERSIONS. IT IS NOT A PLEASANT PLACE TO BE. INNORUUK PROBABLY HATES THAT, TOO. HATE. HATE.
Sometimes I am just so proud of our One Shots crowd here at Massively OP. I keep coming up with ludicrous screenshot challenges and you all continue to rise to the occasion. Even when I ask for spiders. Giant spiders.
We got ever so many.
Vincent leads the arachnid parade with this pic from Final Fantasy XIV: “I give you Arachne Eve, the first boss in the Weeping City (aka ‘Wiping City’) raid. My alliance was not amused I was taking screenshots mid-battle — especially as I was the healer. But y’know… priorities.”
At least he has learned the important lesson that One Shots is more important than anything else in your gaming life. You should all be this devoted.
If you’ve ever taken a look at an item tooltip in EverQuest II and had the distinct impression that you were being prepared for a calculus exam, it might not have been just your lack of comprehension. Daybreak agrees that the item examine screen has grown too “cluttered,” and as such, the studio will be streamlining it for this month’s content update.
Some of the big changes that players will notice is a column format to group related stats together, a separate area for item effect descriptions, and more.
This revamp is coming on May 24th with GU106 and is only the tip of the iceberg for the patch’s offerings: “This game update is packed full of new content, including a return to the Shard of Hate where solo players, groups, and raiders will all be confronted with new bosses, puzzles, and locations within the plane that have never been seen before! There will also be new expert dungeons, a revamped item examine window, new missions, and more!”
Not counting Standing Stone’s titles, Daybreak currently develops and publishes six of its once massive stable of MMOs: Both EverQuests, DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2, H1Z1, and Just Survive. As last week’s bizarre corporate shenanigans and mass-layoffs unfolded, some of the reps for these games addressed their playerbases (with more than a rote denial that anything was wrong).
DC Universe Online’s Executive Producer Katnikov says that “nothing has changed in DCUO’s development schedule” and “these events have not limited [the team’s] plans for the game and future development” as the Deluge update overperformed and there are two episodes and more style unlocks in development. A huge three-parter Superman birthday tie-in apparently begins on May 16th.
PlanetSide 2 Producer Nick Silva reiterates the statement made earlier on Reddit that nobody from his team had been laid off. “PlanetSide 2 has not been negatively impacted by any of the recent reorganization at the company,” he writes. “Our plans for the rest of this year have not changed and we are excited to continue to bring amazing new systems, features, and content to the game we all love. In the coming month we will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of PlanetSide as a franchise. There will be new content, some promotional events, and a new alert type added to the game. We’ll also continue to put out game updates at a regular cadence, as we have been previously.”
How about those Red Sox? Seriously, that’s a conversation I’d rather be having than the one that has cropped up this week — and I don’t even follow the Red Sox. Instead, we’ve got the Columbus Nova fiasco and Daybreak’s disasterous response. I feel as if I am witnessing my favorite game studio hang itself.
As I sit here watching as this story all unfolds, I almost wonder if I’ve stumbled into some crazy movie plot or scripted prank show. Is this seriously happening? It doesn’t seem real, and yet here we are; I’m right with you, following each new step in the saga as it happens. Sadly, in this narrative there are no winners, only losers. The studio, the developers, the players, the industry — we’re all losers. No matter how this ultimately turns out, much damage has been done. The hopes that my favorite game will continue are crashing and burning alongside the last vestiges of trust I had in my favorite studio. How did it come to this? These are my thoughts and feelings as a long-time fan on the matter, basically my WTF reaction to it all.
On this special edition of the podcast, Justin and Bree lay out the Daybreak fiasco, taking you through the events of the last three days, and contemplating the future for this once-great studio.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
Daybreak has now confirmed the layoffs, and we’ve got lots more information from our own sources – see below for updates and context.
Multiple game industry veterans are discussing layoffs at Daybreak today. H1Z1 UI Software Engineer Grat Crabtree says he was among those let go.
Over the last couple of days, we’ve been covering the Daybreak scandal – specifically, how concerns over the impact of government sanctions on Daybreak’s parent companies would affect the games, which spiraled into Daybreak publicly denying that it was ever owned by the company it said repeatedly bought it in 2015 and scrubbing its website and wikipedia of references to Columbus Nova’s acquisition. We’ve all watched on, eyes wide, dutifully recording gaslighting in progress.
But then I have that luxury: I don’t play any Daybreak games and haven’t played any of them seriously since SOE shuttered the best MMORPG ever made. So I can look at the whole situation as the dumpster fire it is, and not as the doom of my favorite MMO, since it already killed that.
Many of you are not in my position. You play DCUO, EverQuest II, PlanetSide 2, even EverQuest. You might even be playing H1Z1, although that’s less likely if you’re reading Massively OP. Or maybe the Standing Stone games Daybreak publishes, LOTRO and DDO, are your thing, and you’re not convinced by yesterday’s vague Twitch sidenote that everything’s probably fine. You are watching on in horror, wondering what will happen to your MMO homes if Daybreak implodes. You might even be pretty sure the games will be OK but aren’t so sure you want to put your own money into the mess.
Yesterday, Massively OP put together a piece on MMO company Daybreak Games Company and its corporate overlords, chronicling the US government’s asset freeze of Russian megacorp Renova on down the chain to its subsidiary Columbus Nova, which has for three years been the nominal owner of Daybreak since it parted ways with Sony and dropped the SOE name.
The twist? When reached for comment on the story, Daybreak informed the editors of Massively OP that our understanding of Daybreak’s ownership was in error. Stunning the MMORPG community and beyond, the company spokesperson insisted it had “no affiliation with Columbus Nova” and that former Columbus Nova rep Jason Epstein “is and has always been the primary owner and executive chairman of Daybreak Game Company” since its founding in February of 2015. When pushed for clarification, Daybreak told us that the “distinction was never corrected in the past, so [it is] correcting that now.”
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. [Eds.: Daybreak began disputing this part as of April 27th; see updates below.]
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?