Bunnies and eggs! Flowers and grass! Lots and lots of chocolate as we hoard every Cadbury thing we can find! (Or maybe that’s just me?) Yep, Easter is this weekend, making it a convenient time for MMOs to shower us in stuff to keep us indoors and playing instead of outside marveling in the end of winter. We’ve collected a few of those events down below!
A German company that publishes several dozen smaller MMOs across the world.
What happens when a global publisher of MMORPGs acquires an MMO news site? We’re about to find out, as the Gamigo Group announced that it has purchased MMOGames.com to “enlarge its portfolio of portals.”
MMOGames.com has covered many online titles, including those under Gamigo’s umbrella. The Gamigo Group, which also handles Aeria Games and marketing platform Adspree Media GmbH, said that the purchase was aimed at “improving monetarisation” of the news site and increasing Gamigo’s advertising presence. Gamigo said that this move helps it achieve its goal of “an end-to-end marketing package,” but for readers, it will no doubt raise questions over the possible conflict of interest present when a video game publisher owns a video game news site.
MMOGames Editor-in-Chief Nick Shively told Massively OP, “Despite the recent acquisition by Gamigo, the MMOGames staff retains its editorial freedom and will continue to uphold its journalistic integrity. There have been no requests to the editorial team that would create a conflict of interest and we intend to continue delivering quality MMO news, reviews, and feature articles.”
Sometimes even the most die-hard MMORPG player finds him or herself a little tired of constantly looking at the back of a head and a running butt. We yearn to slip the surly bonds of the world to explore the cosmos in our very own rocket ship to see what is out there. E.T., are you taking house calls? Can we hang for a little while? I brought Reese’s Pieces!
Getting this experience isn’t quite as easy as, say, finding an MMO that caters to the dragon-slaying crowd. It’s well-known that sci-fi MMORPGs are in the minority, and only a fraction of those center around or contain some element of space flight and combat. However, over the years we’ve seen online games here and there allow us to live out our fantasies of being a space jockey, whether in the form of a trader, a fighter pilot, or an explorer.
Today, let’s look at 10 MMOs, past and present, that helped us get our spaceship on!
The Tad Williams-inspired sci-fi MMO Otherland shuts down today for a week of open beta. When it returns for its planned September 8th launch, it does so as a free-to-play game. Writes Gamigo,
“In preparation for the Open Beta, Otherland has received numerous updates during the previous weeks introducing new functions to the game. The tutorial has been updated, the game’s performance has been fundamentally improved, and various additional quests as well as new factions have been implemented in the story. Most importantly, the extensive crafting system has been completely reworked, with the addition of hundreds of new recipes. The battle system is undergoing a heavy re-design as well: the improved enemy AI will provide an even more action-driven gaming experience that will be further sustained by more fluid motion patterns and revised skill sets.”
The game has already had a weird time on Steam, having disappeared from the platform for a solid two months this past spring. Its early access packs are currently on sale from 30%-50% off their original $19.99-$49.99 prices.
Massively OP’s Andrew scoped out the preview version for us last year, as did Massively OP’s MJ via stream, which we’ve included below.
While we still wait here in the west for Bless Online to make the leap to Europe and North America, we do know that the title is coming very soon for Russian players.
Neowiz has started to sell Russian founder packs, which might give an indication of what other regions are in for when the game arrives there. These packs include access to the beta, a head start to the live game, mounts, various consumables, premium currency, and more.
Bless’ arrival in the west was “delayed slightly” due to the recent merger between Aeria and Gamigo. The studio assures fans that it is coming, however: “The important thing though is that we have a strong team and enough resources to bring Bless to the western market.”
Whether or not you can read Cyrillic, chances are you can get the gist of a pair of new Russian trailers for Bless Online. Check them out below and let us know what you think!
Twin Saga going live in August! Is that sooner or later than what you thought? pic.twitter.com/PYMGBEWOZR
— Twin Saga (@TwinSagaGame) July 12, 2016
Signups for the beta are still being accepted on the official site; founder’s packs are also available for purchase. Aeria was most recently in the news earlier this month for laying off more than 100 employees following its merge with Gamigo.
Aeria Games has laid off around a number of staff following the planned merger with fellow games company Gamigo, Gamasutra is reporting. According to the site’s source, 106 employees were let go and several projects have been shut down as a result of the June merger.
There’s no word which projects have been affected by this, but suffice it to say that Aeria has many current and upcoming titles under its belt, including Twin Saga, Bless Online, Echo of Soul, and Aura Kingdom.
“Combining the two complementary online and mobile games portfolios will make it possible to tap substantial synergy potential. The joint company has a wide reach, marketing its games in over 40 countries, with a focus on Europe and North America. The new publisher has offices in Berlin, Hamburg, Münster, Seoul, Chicago, and San Francisco. The company boasts numerous strong and popular client and browser games (including Echo of Soul, Fiesta Online, Aura Kingdom, and Desert Operations) as well as titles in the fast-growing mobile segment (including Goal One and Dawn of Gods) and already has various new games in the pipeline (including Diddl and Bless) for the coming years.
“[…] As part of the transaction, ProSiebenSat.1 is contributing its 100% holding in Aeria Games to gamigo AG and will become a minority shareholder in the merged publisher with a 33 percent stake. ProSiebenSat.1 acquired Aeria Games Europe in February 2014, since when it has pushed ahead with the mobile side of the publisher’s business in particular.”
I first covered Otherland, the Gamigo-turned-Drago MMORPG based on Tad Williams’ sci-fi book series by the same name, at E3 2012. The idea of having multiple genres in the same game was cool, as was instanced personal housing complemented by (at the time) non-instanced guild housing where players could donate “eDNA” to build NPC mobs that would guard guild lands during PvP raids.
Back then, it sounded fresh and new. WildStar was still far off on the horizon, having only just been announced, which was why I was surprised when Otherland disappeared, especially when NPCs were supposedly going to live their own lives, moving around town at certain hours based on player interaction — a feature I still don’t feel I’ve seen fleshed out well in an MMO. Drago Entertainment’s attempt to bring the game back years later with the same ideas is commendable, but as I downloaded my preview version of the game, I wondered whether the game could feel as new now as it seemed in 2012.