There aren’t many online games that can honestly say they’re still growing and setting records years and years after their launch, but that’s exactly what Grand Theft Auto Online – which launched way back in 2013 – is doing.
Earlier this week, Rockstar announced the good news in a blog post, stating that “2017 was the biggest year of GTA Online yet, capped off by an epic December that saw more players in the game than ever before.”
The news won’t surprise anybody who’s been watching Superdata’s monthly reports, as the game’s been sitting toward the top of the console charts for a long time, peaking at #1 for several months in the summer of 2017.
Rockstar’s blog post further notes the introduction of the Lampadati Viseris as well as sales and bonus events running through this weekend.
Ship of Heroes is super-jumping right into 2018 with two documents of note. The first is a retrospective of what the Heroic Games team learned from the community in the past year, including the fact that players want harvesting, crafting, and trading mechanics as well as crowd-control and pet mastery classes and Halloween. The team also says it understands the community’s desire for solid character creation and combat, details on character powers, and real gameplay video demonstrating development progress – particularly a mission video.
“A powerful character creator, and a positive community, are the two most important features of SoH, as judged by the voters in our polls,” writes the studio.
The second document, published here exlusively on Massively OP (not sponsored), is a reflection on the state of the MMORPG industry, particularly the superhero corner of it and how Ship of Heroes fits in, penned by Heroic Games’ Casey McGeever. We’ve included the whole piece below:
“The road goes ever on” is one of the most well-known phrases from Lord of the Rings, alluding to the ongoing journey of the characters, life in general, and even the fandom that poured out of this franchise. That road took us through 2017 and one of the most interesting years for Lord of the Rings Online
since the MMO’s debut in 2007.
After all, this was the first year that saw Standing Stone Games handling the title since the studio’s formation in 2016. We lived through the 10th anniversary, went to Mordor, and lived to tell the tale. It was a year of ups and downs, of mistakes and successes, and one of continued life for LOTRO.
As we walk down the road and get ready to cross the border from 2017 into 2018, I felt it would be appropriate to look back at the year that was and the road we traveled. What great memories did you make in the game — or the game made for you — this year?
Today we’re kicking off a countdown of Massively OP’s weirdest MMORPG stories of 2017!
Coming in at #5 on our list is…
When we moved over here to Massively Overpowered, some of us transplanted our long-running columns to the new space. I perhaps felt most devastated that I was going to lose all of the Game Archaeologist articles that I had painstakingly researched over the years. So my mission with this space became two-fold: to rescue and update my older columns while continuing to add more articles to this series on classic MMOs and proto-MMOs.
I’ve been pleased with the results so far because TGA is a series that I really don’t want to see vanish. As MMORPG fans, we should consider it important to remember and learn about these older titles and to expand our knowledge past the more popular and well-known games of yesteryear.
Now that we have quite a catalogue of Game Archaeologist columns, I thought it would be helpful to end the year by gifting this handy guide to you that organizes and compiles our continuing look at the history of the genre. Enjoy!
Is this Christmas or Halloween?
One can never quite tell with Warframe, which activated its holiday update yesterday with a bounty on ghoul packs. These critters sound like they could move right into Santa’s workshop: “repugnant Ghouls that overrun their victims in a gruesome mass of limbs and toxin.” Ho-ho-ho boy.
This holiday update also contains housing with brand-new personal quarters. Players can customize their quarters with toys, wallpaper, and even fish tanks. Aw. Fishies.
“Tenno can now personalize and decorate their own personal quarters with an assortment of cool items,” Digital Extremes said. “Customize the landing craft with a mini-stage, then select from posable Warframe figures, companion toys and beds, wallpaper, a fish tank and more to create a mini diorama of one’s own making. Plus, players can now invite a friend inside to visit!”
Even with Tokyo completely reinstated into Secret World Legends
, this reboot is still finding more content to add back in after starting over from its The Secret World
roots. Will today’s patch
, which adds back in the cosmetic barbershop and plastic surgeon, be the last of the “old vanguard” before it’s all new? Probably not; there are plenty of Halloween quests that are waiting for a return.
In addition to the cosmetic tools, Update 2.1.5 starts this year’s winter event, starring all sorts of special critters to attack, world raids, Christmas cosmetics, seasonal achievements, a new winter lockbox, and a free pet to players who log in by January 2nd.
The patch also adds the option to change your name (for a price), fixes several issues, and tosses in new animations for when players unlock emotes and titles.
Even though it’s looking more like Christmas than Halloween around these parts, Shadow’s Kiss is taking its Kickstarter all the way to the bank. The blood bank.
The indie vampire MMO is about to finish a successful fundraising campaign, having raised over $67,000 of its initial $25,000 goal. This means that the community has unlocked a number of stretch goals, such as crafting, a ritual magic system, a soundtrack from Midnight Syndicate, and demolitions.
“We’re honored and a bit overwhelmed by the support from the community,” said Clockwork Throne President Thomas Sitch. “This Kickstarter is going to allow us to finally bring the world a vampire-themed MMO, with gothic story elements, horror, and the ‘coolness factor’ of being a vampire set on ruling the night.”
Flush with all of that future cash, the team apparently funded a trip to the city to interview real vampires during which all of the devs were killed. Or so the following mockumentary videos would have you believe.
With some depressing news bouncing around the MMO genre as of late, it was particularly welcome to read an upbeat and exciting producer’s letter
from Lord of the Rings Online
this past week. And surprising as well — I don’t think many people were expecting a “state of the game” post in late November, of all times. That’s sort of a “new year” thing. I’m not complaining.
Because you all are my fellow Hobbits, there is no one else who I would rather chat with about all of these reveals. Probably no one else would tolerate me doing this, anyway, so here I am and here you are. What did you think about this letter? Here is my takeaway, but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Stately resting between the gaudy purple and orange of Halloween and merry red and green of Christmas is the earth tone-saturated Thanksgiving. While no one’s favorite color scheme, Thanksgiving does give us a nice in-between holiday with family meals, an awkward dance around politics, a work day for football teams, and the occasional MMORPG holiday event.
While not every online game has decided to embrace the American holiday, enough pop up every year that need corralling. And since we just got turkey certified here at Massively OP, we’re going to lay out all of this week’s event options for you on a platter. So enjoy the festivities and dressing up like a Pilgrim for two days maximum before deeply questioning that fashion sense. Now jingly sleigh bells, size XXXL red suits, and reindeer antlers, that’s a smart look indeed!
Don’t get too comfortable in Mordor just yet, because Lord of the Rings Online
is preparing to send its players to the far reaches of the explored map come 2018.
Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini dropped a juicy letter today that went into detail about the studio’s plans for LOTRO over the next year. It all begins with Update 21.3’s Abyss of Mordath raid, coming before the end of 2017. Then in early 2018, Update 22 is taking players to Northern Mirkwood, Dale, Laketown, and Erebor. Following that is Update 23, which returns to Mordor for a trip into Minas Morgul and a confrontation with Shelob.
Ciccolini sprinkled in some other additions and improvements coming to the game, including Elk mounts(!), a playable fiddle, updates to the festivals, the continuation of the Bingo Boffin storyline from last Halloween, and avatar updates to Dwarf and Hobbit models.
Most often, MMO Mechanics
articles focus on the gameplay mechanics that both make the MMO genre unique and those that diversify MMOs from one another, but this time I’m focusing on the mechanics that drive profit for the modern development studio and will discuss the lootbox phenomenon. Although the lootbox is by no means a new topic in the world of online gaming, the purchasing method has been under fire more than ever recently and has seldom faced the same scrutiny from the playerbase and wider media before now.
Recently it has been ArenaNet under fire for the particular way randomisation factors into purchasing Guild Wars 2 mount adoption licence skins. A unique combination of a highly requested and anticipated extension of a likewise highly requested and successful new game feature and the employment of lootbox mechanics has caused quite a stir in the game community, despite the fact that Guild Wars 2’s Black Lion Chests already employ RNG lootbox mechanics. In this article, I’m going to discuss why the skins were such an issue in the first place, evaluate ArenaNet’s response to the player outrage the skins caused, and ponder on the reasons why studios rely on lootbox mechanics in the first place.
It has been a long while since we heard anything about Dragon of Legends, a pixel art-style indie MMORPG that ran a small but successful Kickstarter last year and then dropped off the map. Fortunately, the project isn’t vaporware, as evidenced by developers cranking up communication over the past few months.
Back in September, the team reported that the game was “very close now to going live on Steam” and that it was focusing on the Ranger and Wizard classes for the Steam build. Moving into October, Dragon of Legends received some Halloween touches and opened up caves for testers to explore.
Just because the game is 2-D doesn’t mean that building its world is simple. Developer Desmond Thackeray wrote up a piece explaining the process of creating 2-D level design and how it is more challenging than one might assume. “If Dragon of Legends is to be successful, we must pay close attention to verisimilitude,” he said. “We strive to make the environments realistic in that the terrain makes sense, and that every scene is full of life and uniqueness.”