What: Secret World Legends
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 24th, 2018
What: Secret World Legends
A year ago, MMO fans were thrilled to find out that Funcom had had its best quarter in ages thanks to the early access launch of Conan Exiles. The first quarter of 2018 wasn’t quite as huge, but you can be sure next quarter will be, as Funcom says it’s already sold 1.4M copies of the game, a million of those before May 8th – which Funcom notes is as many as Age of Conan sold in its first three years of life, making it Funcom’s “bestselling game of all time.” It’s expected to launch on PS4 in Japan this summer, alongside the game’s first DLC in June.
Age of Conan, by the way, gets a note for its Saga of Zath progression server that ran throughout winter and spring; the studio says it was “successful in engaging players and increasing revenue.” Little ink is spilled over Secret World Legends beyond a note about Dawn of the Morninglight and a promise for “more content and events […] going forward.” Anarchy Online is not mentioned.
Making a list of the “biggest” MMOs currently running is always an exercise in frustration. It’s easy to put a few things on the list – no one’s going to argue with placing World of Warcraft on such a list, for example – but then everything else always gets mired in opinions and controversy, and endless cycles of “why isn’t this game I love on there while another game I don’t like is there?!” I speak from experience.
Still, on our list of the healthiest MMOs at the moment, we’ve got only three licensed games: Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Those are by no means the only entries on the licensed game list, of course, but there does seem to be something of a dearth of those. And perhaps that’s more understandable than it seems. For all that we talk about how one setting or another would be perfect for an MMO, there are some unique troubles you inevitably run into when you get into the licensed MMO shuffle.
Welcome to double digits, Age of Conan. The Barbarian MMO turned 10 years old this weekend, and Massively OP’s MJ is on hand to celebrate that milestone. She’ll be exploring Hyboria on her Demonologist. Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. to hang out with a 10-year-old and wish AoC a happy anniversary with us.
What: Age of Conan
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 21st, 2018
When it comes to notable years in the MMORPG genre’s history, 2008 stands out as one of the most significant. World of Warcraft’s debut onto the scene in 2004 caused an upheaval in ways far too numerous to go into detail here. Suffice to say that its overwhelming popularity drew the attention of game designers who looked at the staggering numbers of players and found themselves envious of the potential to grab a slice of that money pie.
Many projects went into high gear following WoW’s launch, with plenty of them trying to copy the formula and structure that Blizzard established in the hopes of making it at least partially as big as that game. So-called WoW clones began to pepper the market and there was a sense that gamers were ready to move on from World of Warcraft to the next generation of MMOs. In many players’ minds, this would be either 2008’s Age of Conan or Warhammer Online, two big-budget MMOs with strong IPs that carried a lot of the weight of expectation.
Little did anyone realize that 2008 represented a bubble that was about to burst on the industry and the WoW clones that followed — including Warhammer Online. Today, we’re going to take a look at “bears, bears, bears,” the high hopes of Mythic Entertainment, and how WAR became a casaulty on its own battlefield.
You can’t have a big change like this without people worrying that something will happen to their favorite conspiracy-laden game; it’s inevitable, like the sass of Kirsten Geary. The big question is, will this latest development in the structure of developers ultimately fall on the fear or cheer side of the fence? Will the recent momentum be lost? Is this just one step on the continued track of new content, or will the train be totally derailed?
Ten years of live operation, and Conan still looks like someone killed his puppy. Maybe you need a new hobby, Mr. The Barbarian? We hear there’s this new sandbox survival game out right now that’s pretty hot.
Anyway, Age of Conan is officially 10 years old this month, and to celebrate the occasion, Funcom is throwing players to the lions. Er, wait, that’s not right. They’re throwing lions at the players. Still sounds unsafe, but no matter. Anyone who logs in between now and June 5th will receive their own totally safe, no training necessary Golden Lion of Aquilonia mount.
The anniversary event also includes new daily rewards, an extra raid finder chest that can be opened every day, the addition of the Black Ring Citadel to the raid finder, several quality-of-life changes (such as being able to disable PvE XP), and the return of Shadows of the Past and Acheronian Soul classic content.
What: Secret World Legends
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
As some of you may remember, I wasn’t terribly impressed with Conan Exiles when it first went into Early Access last year. It wasn’t exactly that the game was rough, but just more of the same: free-for-all PvP with people constantly zerg killing each other, now with slavery and some dragons!
But Funcom has done a lot to flesh out the game since then. My GDC look at the game gave me hope, and although the PvE conflict switcharoo is really upsetting, I actually have to say that, mechanically, Funcom has won me over. While I normally track my playtime, I have to admit that I spent far too much time playing Exiles. Sadly, I didn’t get to experience clans, god summoning, purges, teleportation, massive battles, or slavery, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying. In fact, Conan Exiles should give all of us, PvE players included, a reason to pay more attention to the survival genre.
Star Wars Galaxies’ NGE is one of the MMORPG genre’s favorite bugbears: We pull it out as a warning, a label of doom, every time we see a game studio doing something that will upset so many players that it could actually tank the game. We pulled it out for Funcom when it abandoned The Secret World in favor of Secret World Legends, certainly; the fact that so many core MMORPG players meekly accepted that Funcom would trade them for a chance at a totally different playerbase – at the expense of veteran characters and loyal income – continues to baffle me.
This is probably why I was soured on playing Conan Exiles this weekend. I’m extremely distrustful after the way Funcom once again sacrificed one playerbase to secure another, even if the impact wasn’t felt quite as widely as in TSW or SWG. Of course, Conan Exiles is not an MMO, and as MOP’s MJ reminds me, I can always go play on a private server and avoid the studio’s blundering entirely. Would that TSW and SWG fans had that option!
Have you ever walked away from an MMO over a studio’s treatment of its playerbase?
Monster Hunter World made Capcom gobs of money, and now the franchise is set to make even more as it comes to the big screen. Variety reports that Germany’s Constantin Film will begin production on a Monster Hunter flick this September. The movie stars Milla Jovovich and will be directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, who’s well-known for taking on ultra-violent scripts and video game adaptations. If you saw 2002’s Resident Evil – also a Capcom franchise – you already know what the two of them can do together in this space.
Online games are big business in the TV and movie industry in recent years, even for MMOs; readers will recall the Warcraft movie, of course, as well as the fact that Funcom is reportedly still working on a Secret World TV series with Johnny Depp’s production outfit onboard.
What was your first? Not necessarily the first MMORPG you ever played, but the first that made you fall in love with that game and the genre at large? Probably for me, that would have to be City of Heroes, a title which just clicked on all levels and ushered me into a new age of gaming.
I’ll let Katriana tell you hers: “My first MMO, and first MMO love it’s probably fair to say, was EverQuest. I have many memories of my time there, but sadly I don’t have many good screenshots from that time still that aren’t just character selfies. The image below was taken circa early 2003 and is one of the better ones I still have. It represents the crowning achievement of the guild I was in there, the slaying of the first-born dragon Klandicar. It was far from being new or even necessarily notable content at the time, but it was quite an achievement for our little guild.”
Players in both North America and Europe are encouraged to queue up for the Shambala arena. Winners of the matches are supposed to take screenshots and enter them in to a drawing for fierce glyphs, outfits, and other items donated by Funcom.
There are four categories for this player event: top damage dealt, top damage taken, top healing, and overall score. Good luck!