Around the time I started working at Massively-that-was, there was an article that I quite liked talking about how four high-profile MMO failures were not necessary. It was a product of its time, but the point was made that these games didn’t have to wind up in the state they were in. The mistakes that were made were not unexpected problems, but entirely predictable ones that anyone could have seen. Heck, some people did see them and pointed them out, but nothing was changed.
I think about that a lot when I think about other MMOs and online games because there are a lot of titles that, even if not entirely failed, are in states they never needed to be in. These stories are, at the very least, stories of some failures where the failure was not an inevitable end state, nor are they messes that had to be made. The writing was on the wall, the warnings were given, and someone just kept on keeping on and ignored all of the signs. And here we are.
With the insane success — both in terms of popularity and finances — that Dota and League of Legends spawned, you can easily understand why game studios latched onto the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) as a relatively quick cash grab. After all, with players providing the ongoing content (through PvP matches), developers were freed up to focus on balance tweaks and churning out new skins and characters to sell.
In a relatively short span of time, the market became flooded with many imitators that sought to grab that slice of the profitable pie. And while some, such as Hi-Rez’s SMITE, have endured, many games discovered the one key danger with this approach: If you could not generate and sustain a large, active playerbase, you were as good as dead. A critical mass was needed, and when it was not achieved, games started folding up left and right.
In today’s Perfect Ten, we’re going to look at a dozen MOBAs that tried and failed to make it. Perhaps they serve as cautionary lessons to other studios seeking to mimic League of Legends’ format, but we somehow doubt that the era of the MOBA is over just yet.
I can spend hours with an outfit designer in an MMORPG. When APB
was a new thing, I literally spent whole game sessions in front of its customization terminals. And I am only slightly embarrassed at the hundreds of millions of credits that I’ve spent on Star Wars: The Old Republic
cosmetic armor. I knew it was only a matter of time before Elder Scrolls Online
created its version of an outfit designer to steal away my time and money.
When ESO introduced wardrobes and costumes years ago, I believed that we weren’t going to get anything more. However, Update 17 last week added a new layer of character customization. With the addition of the Outfit System, there isn’t really anything else players need to make their character look the way that they want.
ESO‘s designer takes elements from other outfit systems that work and create its own unique way of allowing players to piece together items. In fact, I would say that ESO‘s outfit design is close to perfect.
Does it matter how many people are playing your MMO? For some, yes, it does. It’s at least of passing interest to others, especially if players are looking for a “healthy” title or want a large number with which to impress their friends and argue that this MMO is besting another.
So don’t be too surprised that there is an effort to figure out what Guild Wars 2’s (undisclosed) population is at the moment. In An Age challenges one community estimate of 3.3 million players by looking at the available evidence and financial reports.
“Here’s my gut check: Guild Wars 2 probably has about 1.5 million monthly ‘players’ and many times less people who actually log on when there isn’t a holiday event/Living Story taking place,” he argues. “Ultimately though, I think Guild Wars 2 is actually uniquely well-positioned to survive regardless of whether it consists of a million actives or three million tourists.”
Today is a positively massive day for fans of Trove
– and fans of superheroes, for that matter – as Trion is announcing a brand-new expansion for the popular
MMO and its 15 million players. It’s called Heroes
, and yes, it’s comic-themed!
“Trove – Heroes focuses on the neon festooned city of Luminopolis, a new high-tech skyscraper-laden section of Neon City. Luminopolis has been thrust into a battle for power between the evilly robotic Amperium and the Resistors, a rebel group fighting to bring the light back to the city. Players will partake in all new adventures, interact with new NPCs, wage battle against gigantic invading Mega World Bosses, and fight to save Luminopolis from the nefarious threat of the Amperion.”
If you’re sick of all your existing classes, you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a new one coming too, the Vanguardian. “A heroic class that pulls inspiration from the classic silver age of comic heroes, the Vanguardian is a paragon of virtue and strength,” Trion says. “Utilizing fluid combat in up close and personal melee skirmishes and from afar via effective ranged attacks, the Vanguardian is well-equipped to take up the cause of the Resistors and turn back the Amperion once and for all!”
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over the fate of MOBAs, investigate Alganon’s nebulous state, talk about why subscribing to an alpha test might not be the smartest thing in the world, and more!
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:
Gigantic is on the short road to sunset, I’m sorry to report.
The move by publisher PWE won’t surprise many players, as the development studio behind the game, Motiga, was shuttered back in November. At the time, PWE said it would keep the game itself online; it even pushed out a patch a few weeks atfer that.
But today, PWE has called it quits. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the January Update is the final content update for Gigantic, and the game servers will be discontinued on July 31, 2018,” says the company, thanking players for giving the game a chance.
It’s hard to imagine barbarians without gigantic weapons that take a whole lot of muscle to swing. So it’s good to see Conan Exiles introduce massive two-handed swords (which come in everything from stone to starmetal). While these weapons won’t be available until launch, the team is planning to add back in sprinting with weapons and tools in hand sooner than that.
The team said that getting Conan Exile’s gold disc finalized is of maximum priority, after which its attention will turn to the day one patch. Work is being done to hit requirements from Microsoft and Sony, shaping up the new perk system, and of course, making sure the hyped volcano and jungle regions are ready to go.
Funcom said not everything will be available on Day One: “The new combat paradigm will roll out on PC before May 8th. Project Content Rebalance will hopefully make it to PC players pre-launch, but may be moved back depending on when the work is finished.”
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
July was a month of MMORPG launches, as Riders of Icarus, Albion Online, and Gigantic formally launched; Dark and Light hit early access; and other MMOs, including SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, and Neverwinter, rolled out major updates.
But it was also a period of delays, as Star Citizen collected thousands of comments over its repeated delays of its 3.0 alpha and both ARK: Survival Evolved and Lord of the Rings Online’s Mordor rescheduled launches for August. We also said farewell to Firefall after its long limbo, and don’t forget the Pokemon Go live event trainwreck!
Read on for the whole list!
Step aside, turkey and fambly rage: It’s time to buy stuff. Because we don’t already unload our wallets the rest of the year on MMOs! Oh wait, yes we do. In any case, here’s a quick roundup of all the best MMO Black Friday 2017 sales on Steam and elsewhere.
With the new expansion, official vanilla servers, and all of the other news from BlizzCon this year, it’s a great time to be a World of Warcraft fan. But Blizzard has other games too!
This year, our sales team has once again put together a couple of gift guides pertinent to our MMO readers. Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links and may grant a small commission to us, which is very much appreciated. Read to see some of the fun stuff you can get for the Blizzard-lover in your life!
How’s everyone feeling about Gigantic
right about now? Probably just a little
conflicted, given the shuttering of its development team
and its rather ambiguous state under PWE at the moment. But the November patch for the game, the Infernal Hunt, is still coming out as planned, bringing in the eponymous Infernals as a new creature family. They’re available in both juvenile and adult forms, and they have no shortage of tricks to roll out on the battlefield.
Assuming you want to hunt them, you can do so with new skins for several heroes and with new Infernal weapon skins for several more heroes. In short, you have a variety of options about what you’re using to hunt down the little beasties. Check out the preview video just below to see some of the skins and the new creatures themselves in action.
Last night, we reported on multiple employees and former employees’ allusions to the closure of Motiga Games, the studio behind MOBA Gigantic. “Today marks the end of Motiga and my time with an absolutely amazing team,” wrote former audio lead Dan Crislip. “If anyone is hiring, we’re all looking!”
Perfect World has now responded to Massively OP with a statement on what’s going on – in fact, it’s not just Motiga affected, as apparently Runic Games is also shutting down. PWE is distancing itself from the decisions.
“Following the news that Motiga has reduced the staff of its studio, Perfect World Entertainment can confirm that as the publisher of Gigantic, the game will continue to be available on our platforms. A core team of developers remains at Motiga, who will work with us to support the game and its players, including moving full steam ahead with the upcoming November update and future content. We cannot thank everyone enough for their contributions in making Gigantic the outstanding experience it is today.”