fallout

See: TheFallout series on Wikipedia. MMO players will forever be waiting for Fallout Online, we suspect.

Marvel Heroes dishes out a hefty daily allowance as the game counts down to extinction

Marvel Heroes players are dealing with the fallout of yesterday’s announcement that the superhero MMO is being shut down by Disney and will officially sunset on December 31st. At least before this happens, the community will have the opportunity to play or wear anything they want.

This is thanks to Gazillion’s decision to dish out 1,000 GsMarvel Heroes’ premium currency — every singe day from now to its closure. Even better, all store options are now 50Gs across the board. “This is the best current solution we have with limited resources and technical limitations of the PC, and wanted to make sure this got out to you,” the studio said.

Former Creative Director Jeff “Doomsaw” Donais popped back up on the forums yesterday to praise the work that the team did on the game and urge other studios to hire those laid off: “The actual people who worked in every department on Marvel Heroes were the definition of epic. They accomplished an amazing amount of work with a relatively small budget and an approval process that made everything a little tougher.”

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s CCP Games is gambling with the livelihoods of employees

Last week we broke the story that EVE Online developer CCP Games is backing out of the virtual reality games market, closing its Altanta office and selling its VR-focused Newcastle studio. The long-held Atlanta office was acquired in the merger with White Wolf in 2006 and has been hit with several rounds of layoffs over the years, with a major hit in 2011 after the Monoclegate disaster and another 2014 when the World of Darkness MMO was cancelled. The Newcastle studio was the development house responsible for CCP’s VR dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie, and both Valkyrie and CCP’s new VR game Sparc will now be maintained by the London office.

Around 100 staff were laid off in the restructuring, roughly 30 of whom worked in CCP’s headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland. Though we were informed at the time that these changes would not impact the development of EVE Online, it since became apparent that more than a few non-development staff were cut. In addition to the EVE PR staff and others that were stationed in Atlanta, all but two members of the EVE community team in Reykjavik have also been let go. There are reports that several GMs and the localisation manager for EVE have departed too, and the mood on twitter from staff in Reykjavik recently is best described as sombre and a little shaken.

In this extra edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into CCP Games’s history of taking risks with staff’s jobs, look at some of those affected by the layoffs, and ask whether there is more fallout to come.

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Guild Chat: Dealing with one bad egg in an MMO guild – without breaking the others

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which we all band together to help a reader in need solve their guild-related dilemma. This time, reader Cee is wondering how best to handle one person who doesn’t seem to settle into the rank and file of his guild without ruining the solid working dynamic with the offending party’s friends. Cee feels that almost everyone else in the guild finds this person funny and friendly, but after a couple of complaints and uncomfortable exchanges, Cee doesn’t feel the same. The member came into the guild as a part of a group of friends during the guild’s initial recruitment phase, and although this member was initially affable with Cee and his officers and slotted in well, there has been growing friction between a small group in the guild because of more raucous behaviour.

Read Cee’s full submission below along with my take on the problem, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

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Massively Overthinking: The state of early access, alpha, and beta ‘testing’ in the MMO genre

I remember years ago when then-Massively-columnist Rubi Bayer let loose with a blistering rant on the state of faux beta MMOs. She helmed Betawatch back then, see, and she was fed up with (mostly imported) MMOs claiming to be in beta when in fact they’d soft-launched. A lot of readers didn’t understand her fury at the time, but boy have things changed, right? Now, every game’s in on that very old trick, only they call it early access now, while some are still pushing the boundaries, charging $1000 for pre-alpha.

MOP reader Pepperzine proposed a topic for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s right on point. “I was thinking it would be interesting if we could discuss when people consider a game to be in alpha/beta versus a final launch as a topic,” he wrote to us.

“Back in the day, this was easy to determine. Selective testers were extended invites into beta who were experienced testers who had the computer hardware to handle the software. The primary purpose of being in the testing phase was exactly that, to test and bug report. When the game was made available to the public at a price, a game was considered launched. Now, players are granted access to pre-launch titles by ‘donating’ or purchasing access. For the most part, the primary purpose of participating in the pre-launch experience for these players is not testing or bug reporting but rather to experience and play the game. The division of purchasing a game and donating to test has become so blurred that it is no longer a valid way of determining if a title is at a state to where it is launch ready. These titles can stay in this pre-launch phase for as long as they deem necessary, easily deflecting criticisms by reiterating it is still in development. So when do you consider a game to be launched? Is it when the producers declare it is? Is it when there is no longer the possibility of wipes? Is it when cash shop monetization is implemented? Is it as soon as the company begins selling access?”

Where’s the line in 2017? Let’s dig in.

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Fractured introduces its complex horizontal leveling system

Since this past summer, we’ve had our eye on Fractured, yet another SpatialOS MMO on the way to hard drives everywhere. If it’s not on your radar yet, it probably ought to be be, as it’s touting planetary colonization, crafting, housing, skill- and reflex-based combat, and most interestingly, no grind and no forced PvP.

The team’s most recent dev vlog covers character progression, specifically a “knowledge system” that is “different from both level-based and skill-based systems.” In fact, Dynamight Studios is saying it “can be defined as the first accomplished example of horizontal progression in an MMO,” which I’m sure will quirk the eyebrows of all the other games with horizontal progression, yeah?

In any case, this does sound pretty cool. The goals, Dynamight says, are to keep newbies competitive from the start with “minimal power gaps,” while providing “long-term objectives for character development,” avoiding grind, and creating opportunities to change builds during play. If anything, it reminds me of systems used in the Fallout series: Exploring the worlds, encountering new critters, identifying items, and discovering relics all help you earn knowledge points, which you can then spend on a talent tree, which looks more like something you’d see in a sandbox than in a typical themepark or OARPG with class trees.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community rocked by death threat controversy

Here is a lesson that we should all take to heart: Smack talk is one thing, actual death threats are entirely another.

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene is still dealing with the fallout of a death threat made a few weeks ago at a tournament. The situation arose when one team, The Immortals, arrived late at the tournament and sparked widespread rumors that they were partying too hard the night previous.

When one player publicly accused the team of this, Immortals team member Vito “Kng” Giuseppe tweeted to him, “You’ll prove it, or I’ll kill you!” Reportedly, Giuseppe then tried to go find the accuser and had to be restrained.

The Immortals decided to deal with this internally, scheduling a meeting with Giuseppe to go over his actions. When he didn’t show up, the team decided to suspend him and then, shortly after, let him go entirely.

Source: Polygon

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EVE Online thieves produce propaganda music video, auction off ill-gotten gains

If betrayals, heists, coups d’état, and threats aren’t enough to pique your interest in EVE Online’s metagame, maybe memes will do the trick.

As PCGN points out, EVE Online players are rushing to fill the vacuum left by last week’s theft of in-game property worth $20,000 (and subsequent banning by CCP of one of the victims for issuing multiple real-life threats to maim the perpetrator). Indeed, the winning cohort, if you want to call any of this “winning,” has now produced a taunting propaganda video set to Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down and begun auctioning off some of the in-game property its members stole. I’d link to the pun thread as well, but as of press time, there are racist comments in it, so suffice it to say that EVE’s Reddit community has squeezed every imaginable hand- and mittens-related pun out of the whole mess.

Massively OP’s Brendan “Nyphur” Drain, who’s been covering the EVE universe for over a decade, has written extensively on this topic over the last week, discussing the particulars of this arm of the war, the fallout over the real-life threat, and most recently, the shift in what’s considered acceptable toxicity inside the game since its launch in 2003.

Source: YouTube via PCGN

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Guild Chat: What to do if drug use impacts your MMO guild

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which we all band together to help someone get on top of his or her guild-related issue: While I give my two cents here in the article, plenty of useful advice and different perspectives on the matter at hand emerge in the comments section. This time, reader Michael has a rather challenging issue to deal with that hinges on his guildmates’ drug use. Michael’s guild centres around an online friendship group that began in MOBAs and has recently been adversely impacted by the behaviour of several members of the group who live close to one another. These members have, for as long as Michael has known them, taken recreational drugs while gaming, but recently Michael has noted some personality changes and volatility that is uncharacteristic of his friends. He wants to know how best to deal with the issue and bring back positive relations in his guild.

You’ll find my two cents in the comments, but this is a massive topic that needs a measured approach. The submission does not include specifics of what drugs the friends are consuming and whether or not those substances are controlled or otherwise legally restricted in their country. I am in no way qualified to give professional advice about drug consumption and all advice given is in support of seeing a medical professional who specialises in drug dependence and addiction. Add your own thoughts in the comments, of course, and see Michael’s full submission below.

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GTA-esque MMO CrimeCraft will sunset at the end of August

Hey, remember CrimeCraft? I had forgotten all about it, but we covered the Vogster-designed MMO from 2008 onward on Old Massively through its 2009 launch and subsequent free-to-play conversion that same year (a bit before F2P was popular!). Back then, it was competing with the original All Points Bulletin for the title of best Grand Theft Auto copycat, and it even managed to get banned in Australia. In 2012, the game was picked up by Mayn Games, and it is Mayn Games delivering the bad news to players here in 2017.

“It is with heavy hearts that we must announce CrimeCraft is closing on August 31, 10:00 am CET (04:00 am EST),” writes the studio today. “For the past years, we did our best to support the game and make players to enjoy it. It was a very hard choice to make, but despite the overwhelming support of our loyal players, this was the way it had to go. We are grateful to all players for continued support of the game.”

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Pokemon Go event organizers blame cell traffic overload for snafu

The fallout and analysis of the debacle that was last weekend’s Pokemon Go Fest continues, as Niantic has been pressed for answers on why such a widespread failure happened — and why it couldn’t have been anticipated.

Niantic CEO John Hanke penned an enormous blog post about the event’s missteps yesterday and pinpointed exactly what went wrong. “Technical issues with our game software caused client crashes and interfered with gameplay for some users,” he said. “A more protracted problem was caused by oversaturation of the mobile data networks of some network providers.”

Hanke said that the studio delivered estimates to its carrier partners but that the overload happened anyway. Even with the frustrations, over the course of the weekend Chicago event players captured more than 7.7 million Pokémon, including more than 440,000 legendary Pokémon.

Our take? This was Niantic being Niantic, and that needs to change ASAP.

Source: Niantic via Polygon

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World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade emulator shut down by Blizzard cease-and-desist

Well, what did you think was going to happen?

As they have no legal legs on which to stand, MMORPG emulator projects operate on the hope that they’re under the radar enough that the actual owner of the intellectual property won’t notice or care that such activities are transpiring. Unfortunately for operator Gummy and his team over at Burning Crusade, Blizzard wasn’t about to let this fly on its watch.

The studio issued a cease-and-desist letter to the World of Warcraft emulator just weeks after the game started to become more public with open beta testing. This shutdown echoes the great drama that we saw last year with the closure and fallout of the Nostalrius vanilla WoW emulator.

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Guild Chat: What to do when your MMO guild is close to imploding

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively commenters can join forces to help solve the guild dilemmas of fellow readers. This time, I have a sad submission from Louise, a guild officer who is at present in the middle of the worst kind of guild wars. She explains that a personal bust-up has been festering within her guild’s ranks between the guild leader and another officer, caused by an inconsequential fallout that she doesn’t know the full details of. The dispute has spilt out to the wider roster as the pair snipe at each other and manoeuvre behind the scenes to undermine the other, which is making members leave the guild, mute chat, and take sides in the row. Now Louise faces a dilemma: How can she resolve this fallout and come away with a still-functioning, harmonious guild at the other end? Read on for Louise’s full submission and my response, and don’t forget to share your advice in the comments below.  Read more

Hands-on with Secret World Legends: A second chance for a first impression

I would like to start this article by saying that there are a lot of things to like about Secret World Legends, but for me, those good things — despite their being some of my favorite things about RPGs and MMOs — make it hard to overlook what I consider the flaws of the game.

Although there were always weird bits to The Secret World’s storytelling, like the silent protagonist, I’ve long considered it to be some of the best storytelling in MMORPGs. With the launch of Secret World Legends, that has not changed. In fact, I would say that as an introduction to the game, it’s improved. The weak point to the game has always been the combat. There were some very confusing things about it, which have been fixed, and there were some aesthetic issues, which have not been fixed.

I am very torn about how to approach my impressions of the game. I want to come at it as someone who hasn’t played it before because it’s being sold as something new. But at the same time, I have played the game, and I know exactly why I never played it for more than a week at a time. I approached the game from two different perspectives: Would this impress someone who has never played it, and will returning players who didn’t stick with it over the last couple of years be interested enough in the changes to come back?

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