Apologies for being extensively absent from this column over the last few months! Every day the Massively OP offices are deluged with fan mail demanding, “Bring back Jukebox Heroes! Where is Jukebox Heroes? How can I survive without that epic MMO music to get me through the week?”
To which I can only mutter something about a classified mission to Paraguay, being adopted by a jaguar for six weeks, and subsequently finding myself co-starring with The Rock on his latest escapade. It’s all in the line of duty when you are an MMO reporter.
But I am back, and boy is there a lot of news to talk about this week! Let us catch up on the MMORPG music scene and see what is happening with Destiny 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Absolver, Black Desert, and Champions Online already!
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree saddle up for discussion on Wild West Online’s alpha, Star Citizen’s back-backlash on schedules, the miserable state of Phantasy Star Online 2, 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:
Remember last week when Kakao
hinted that Black Desert’s
new servers were indication that Kamasylvia was on the way “real soon”
? That soon is almost upon us, as Kakao has announced this morning that the massive PvE-centric expansion will launch next week on September 27th, or at least the first part of it. Oh yeah, and it’s free
“Black Desert Online’s new region, Kamasylvia, features elven woodlands that stretch out to the south of Hexe Sanctuary, from the Valtarra Mountains to the Shady Tree Forest. In terms of the landmass, the new region is about the size of Calpheon and houses an elven village known as the Old Wisdom Tree. There is no level requirement for Kamasylvia, but it is a dangerous place to go alone, so being at high level will be beneficial and group play is recommended. There is also new group-based content such as The Altar of Training that will enthuse players who are looking for some co-op action. The Altar of Training, located deep within Kamasylvia, contains a survival mode which players can unlock once they have completed certain quests in the main storyline. Players will need to work together with their party members to defend a sacred treasure from hordes of enemies that grow stronger with each wave. A total of five waves need to be beaten before the ultimate challenge: a fight with the powerful final boss, Ancient Puturum. If successful, adventurers can gain valuable items and gear.”
The official site’s free trial landing page has an updated interactive map with the new region clickable (it’s screenshots when you click through to it), and the new trailer? That’s down below!
Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.
Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?
That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at whatever happened to Black Gold, Order and Chaos Online, and Eden Eternal.
Earlier this week, we wrote about Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss’ IPO and its grand plans for the future – among them, four additional MMOs. Sounds great, right? Except that the suspicion, at least in our comments, is that Pearl Abyss will just follow in the footsteps of Nexon, NCsoft, and Netmarble in that the games will mobile MMOs and not “real” MMORPGs at all. That may or may not be true; the games have fairly fast turnaround for a full-scale MMORPG, but then the company talked up the BDO engine for future games and expressed great ambition in the MMORPG market in the west and on console.
But the suspicion seems to turn off so many of us — the stigma is real. So for today’s Overthinking, I wanted to dig into that. Do you play mobile MMOs, especially any of the modern crop that are popular in East Asia and then ported here? What keeps you from playing mobile MMOs, and what would you want out of an MMO for a mobile device that would actually make you consider it a home MMORPG?
What? That’s the takeaway from today’s Black Desert patch. If you wanted PSL, you’re outta luck because as the leaves turn in the game (literally) and autumn descends on the game world, the game is rolling out Oktoberfest and its concomitant in-game beer festival. You’ve got until October 11th to take part in the Beer Festival Quests (which technically launch tomorrow).
The other big news for this biweekly patch is the addition of new servers. Several are grouped under the Kamasylvia moniker (“You know what that means… Kamasylvia Part 1 coming real soon!” says the studio), but the most intriguing one is a brand-new PvP server, Valencia6_PvP. OK, maybe not the best name ever. Critically, the server is penalty-free, meaning you can gank away with no fear of repercussions – at least from the game’s mechanics.
We’ve been tracking Black Desert
developer Pearl Abyss’ path to IPO since last spring
, when multiple Korean outlets began reporting that the company sought a listing on the Korean stock exchange this coming fall. A few weeks ago, the company’s IPO press conference let loose a few more tidbits
MMO players might be intrigued to learn. As parsed from Invenglobal’s
translation, here are the highlights:
- Black Desert took four years to make and currently operates in 100 countries. “The total RU [registered users] is more than 7.65 million based on July 2017, and the total sales are approximately ￦340b [$301M].”
- As of the end of July 2017, PA has sold 530K copies of the game through Steam, amounting to $1.3M in sales. “The title was placed No. 2 of the total sales on Steam on June 20th.” (There’s a section that notes the game cost only ￦1.2b ($1M) to make, “a relatively small cost […] compared to other MMORPGs,” but we assume they’re talking about just the engine specifically there.)
Remember when Black Desert
wasn’t localized in English and every attempt to play it involved jumping through a lot of hoops in a language you didn’t speak? That’s still
the situation for the game’s would-be Spanish-speaking fans, who have to sit and watch forlornly as other people enjoy playing the game. But now a localized Spanish version of the game has been announced
, which means that Spanish-speaking people can get together with their friends and have a big party. (Does anyone know the Spanish words for “friends” or “party?”)
An exact date hasn’t yet been decided upon, but localization should be finished by the first half of 2018, and Spanish-speaking GMs will also be hired to assist customers who require it. It’s good news for native speakers and bilingual speakers who feel more comfortable with Spanish on a whole; they’ll still have to wait a little bit longer, but it’s better than waiting for something that may never come.
One of the reasons I gravitated to and stick by the MMORPG genre in spite of its many ups and downs (oh, so many downs) over the last two decades is the fact that I can play more or less exactly the character I want to play, which is usually female characters. Other genres, even RPGs, have been relatively slow to catch up to what we’ve had here in MMO land right from the start. The idea of a serious MMORPG launching without female toons of some sort is almost unheard of.
I bring this up because of Quantic Foundry’s latest blog post, which delves its Gamer Motivation Profile for data on how gamers feel about being able to play female protagonists. Unsurprisingly, three-quarters of female gamers and a third of male gamers, irrespective of age, consider that option very or extremely important!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our mixed-gender staff three questions: what they think about Quantic’s findings, whether they stick to the gender they personally identify as when rolling toons in MMOs, and whether the lack of gender options — or in MMOs’ case, things like gender-locked classes — drive them as nuts as they drive me.
is live in Black Desert
today as promised; it’s the co-op tower defense minigame in which teams of players will protect the Sealed Tower from enemies coming at ’em in 25 waves that increase in difficulty.
There’s more to today’s update, however: Kakao is also kicking off a “back to school” event, which is cute given that the average gamer and MMO player skews well into his or her thirties. Nevertheless, the event is essentially a cash shop bonus whereby many items are discounted and lockbox purchases will be accompanied by extra goodies, including cash shop pearls.
Check out the complete patch notes on the official site and the Savage Rift trailer down below.
Tomorrow’s Black Desert
update will make the new biweekly cadence all worthwhile. Its headline feature? Savage Rift, a de facto co-op tower defense minigame in which teams of players will protect what Kakao’s calling the Sealed Tower from enemies.
“Players will need to fend off dangerous hordes of monsters and work together to survive the 25 waves, which will gradually become more fierce and challenging. Groups from 8 to 10 people are needed for the game to start and combatants must be level 56 or higher. The final challenge will be against a powerful field boss, those robust enough to defeat them will be rewarded valuable loot, including boss armour. By accumulating points during the game, players can buy and employ siege weapons such as the Matchlock and Hwacha. To increase the chances of survival, it is vital to deploy these weapons as soon as possible. This will enable groups to rake up, even more points which in turn gives players access to devastating weaponry. Points can be transferred to fellow party members to maximise the deployment strategy.”
There’s a trailer to catch you up. Definitely an interesting type of content to add to an MMORPG, yeah?
Remember a few weeks back when PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds took League of Legends to town on Twitch, beating Riot’s giant for eyeball share on the platform during the Dota 2 tourney for the first time ever? Twitch is apparently not the only place the game is kicking butt and taking names: It’s now surpassed Dota 2’s concurrency numbers on Steam, putting it at #1 – an unheard of feat for a non-Valve video game.
Bluehole creative director Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene himself tweeted on Saturday when PUBG broke the 800,000 concurrent players threshold, but the game kept climbing, eventually peaking at 878K to Dota 2’s 843K on Sunday.
SteamSpy’s Sergey Galyonkin had been tracking the game’s meteoric rise in preparation for the new record, pointing out that PUBG is actually pulling heavily from CS:GO to get those numbers. “It’s not surprising: if you like CS:GO there is a chance you’ll like PUBG,” SteamSpy opines. “If you DON’T like Payday 2 but like shooters, PUBG is appealing.”
The game has been making SuperData’s top 10 list for revenue for the last several months. Overseas, Tencent attempted to buy out Bluehole Studio but was rebuffed, so it merely purchased a stake in the company, while Black Desert showrunner and Korean conglom Kakao recently inked a deal to publish the game in Korea.
Let this Black Desert
story be a lesson. Actually, no, let it be two lessons: Don’t cheat, and definitely don’t cheat if your job might be on the line. Maybe three lessons, in that we can’t always trust the people running the MMOs we play.
Black Desert, as MMO Culture reports, has suffered a black eye thanks to its Taiwanese studio. Apparently, a pair of Pearl Abyss Taiwan employees in the region used their personal, non-employee accounts to play the game during maintenance (while it was down for regular players), scooping up some sweet loot from the auction hall in the process.
“Both were stripped of their positions,” MMO Culture translates, “and 30% of their pay will be withheld for 3 months.” So apparently they keep their jobs?
OK, so four lessons: The penalties probably won’t be harsh enough.
Over in the west, there’s no patch today, but there are new bits and bobs in the cash shop this week.