Leaderboard is a weekly feature in which the Massively Overpowered staff pitch a poll to the readership. [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]
When I add news to our newsroom for our reporters to pick up, I often add links that just say "such-and-such a game exists" -- because just existing is what's new, or at least new to us. Today, we had three of those, and I'm combining them all for this quick look at three MMOs and orbiting games that you've probably never heard of: Age of Rivals, Lothgar Online, and Little War Online.
Lothgar Online (Asylumsoft) launched yesterday. Let me warn you upfront: If you aren't into retro pixel graphics and hardcore gameplay, you probably won't like this MMO. The devs, who are also the folks behind the similarly styled Elderlands, call it an "Online RPG built in a classic style, paying homage to 1980s RPGs," and yes, that means PvP, corpse looting, and attunement in addition to a giant world, guilds, skills, and questing. On the other hand? There's no cash shop either. Old school isn't always a bad thing! (via Reddit)
In the comments of a Daily Grind last week, a few commenters tangeted into debate about The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind pricing.
See, the original "ESO Plus" deal for ESO subscription holders granted them full access to all future downloadable content (DLC) forever and ever, as long as they were subscribed to the game. Morrowind, however, has been marketed not as DLC but as a "chapter," meaning it will not be subject to the Plus promises, and so everyone will have to pay for it. Grumbling ensued.
"Suppose I paid BMW a monthly fee to drive [BMW] cars," commenter Odin wrote. "I could drive whatever I want as long as I paid. They announce a great new car I want to drive. I cant wait, but they tell me, "This isnt a car; it's an automobile. You have to pay extra.'"
Eyebrows flew up earlier this week when Carbine announced it would be granting free max-level WildStar characters to players who log into the game with the patch launch today.
In way, the decision makes sense, since the game has long touted its endgame and Power of the Primal Matrix introduces horizontal advancement best explored at the level cap.
On the other hand, MOP's Justin and I have a longstanding debate on whether advanced characters are a boon to MMOs -- do they crush your fun or just help you skip unrelated grind? Are they a net positive for a game or just a Hail Mary?
For today's impromptu Leaderboard, let's see how the free toon is working out for you.
Last week, the MMO world was startled to learn that instead of getting an expansion, The Secret World is getting a complete relaunch as part of a big Funcom push of the game. At this point, there's been plenty of time to speculate (and not a lot of info from the studio forthcoming, and yes, we've asked!). From the investor call, we know that the game is due for a newbie experience overhaul, a combat overhaul, daily login rewards, and a new business model that makes story content freely accessible, which suggests a lean away from buy-to-play.
So do you think we are looking at a game-crushing NGE -- or a Final Fantasy XIV-style GOTY-quality do-over? And more importantly, do these sound like the kinds of adjustments that might entice you to return to The Secret World or play for the first time? Let's find out in this week's Leaderboard.
Solo players in MMORPGs are a strange case, chiefly because they are treated like an outlier when they aren't. The fact is that almost everyone solos at one time or another -- yes, even in classic MMORPGs -- and the vast majority of people apparently prefer to solo more than not solo, even if they also want to group. Or at least one might draw that conclusion from the last dozen years of MMOs!
I thought for today's Leaderboard, we could drill down some of the reasons people solo. Pick as many as apply!
so-called "first major update," Exile in the North
, went live just a few weeks ago, but PWE
have way more in store for fans of this charming MOBA. Today, the studios formally announced that they're rolling out the game's "second major update," Eternal Dawn, beginning on February 23rd.
In addition to 18 eternal light weapons and a website-based leaderboard for heroes, the update will introduce (and skin) Zandora.
"A lance-wielding Eternal who has emerged from the Star City to walk among mortals, Zandora is a melee/support hybrid who uses auras to empower herself and allies on the battlefield. Zandora is already the second Hero released since the game’s Dec 8 Game Preview program live date, increasing the total cast to 18. With the goal of a new Hero every 6 weeks, the team is excited to massively grow the Hero pool, expanding the highly strategic play. Owners of Gigantic’s Founders Pack will automatically unlock Zandora for free."
A new creature and three additional skins will follow a week apart through the month of March.
Past the downtime and the lag and the inventory snafus, how are Marvel Heroes
players reacting to the "biggest update ever?"
Not well. On Steam, negative reviewers are busily tanking the game's rating, dragging its review score down from its usual "mostly positive" to the recent "mostly negative" with claims that the update drained the game of fun and lore and action and depth-wise is "a shallow husk of what it used to be."
On Reddit, players are upset that Gazillion apparently removed newbie accounts' options for their first hero, a regression in design goals.
On the official forums, players are annoyed over movement changes, the power bar, item changes, and attribute changes, calling it a "total destruction of a fantastic game." Ouch.
Finishing up today is Crowfall's Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding campaign, one of the first games and MMORPGs to take advantage of new 2016 laws that allow regular people to invest in small indie companies online. As I write this, the studio has raised just over $600,000 with just over 1100 investors, solidly in the middle of its $159K-$1M goal range.
I'm curious, though, whether any of you were among the investors or plan to invest in other games in the future, now that actual investing (however limited and risky) is an option when once only donations were on the table.
That leads me to today's Leaderboard and the pair of polls below, where we're asking you both about your involvement in Crowfall's fundraising and your involvement in future equity crowdfunding ventures from other studios. Onward!
In February 2015, following the SOE/Daybreak transition and ensuing mass layoffs, we polled our readers on the security of the rest of the studio's games. Almost half of you voted that Dragon's Prophet was the studio's most vulnerable remaining game, with almost 20% pointing to EverQuest Next. And you were right; SOE's North American-run Dragon's Prophet was gone within the year, with EverQuest Next to follow just a few months later.
And now Landmark's headed off into the sunset.
The thing is, Daybreak doesn't really have much left. The company that once won "best studio" four years in a row and had a much-deserved reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going is now down to four MMORPGs, plus H1Z1 A and B, and one unannounced game, plus the games it's publishing for Standing Stone. Yesterday we counted up the casualties and found Daybreak has now shut down approximately 16 games, most of them in the last few years -- more than most studios will ever launch.
Let's break out the poll for a revisit, two years on. Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?
By design, end-of-the-year awards rollouts usually recognize the new shinies. Seldom do they honor the resilient MMORPGs, the games that solider on for years and years with consistent updates and stalwart communities in spite of their age and sometimes obscurity.
But Massively OP remembers! And thanks to commenter Agemyth, who suggested this topic, we're going to put it to a vote. Do note that we've included a wide range of gracefully aging games that gamers might consider classic due to the era of their launch. No, we didn't include World of Warcraft. No, we didn't include games that aren't still running. Onward to the future where the past lives on in the present!
Every week for the last few years, we've expanded on our "Daily Grind" theme with a Leaderboard poll. I've had a blast taking over Leaderboard; Daily Grinds always get lovely qualitative answers, but numbers! tallies! bar graphs! Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don't often get from our other articles -- at least when they aren't being brigaded.
Let's take a look back at our best MMO polls of 2016!
Over the weekend, we doled out our award for the best popcorn MMO -- a jump-in, jump-out game that works as a snack. A whole lot of you thought we meant popcorn as in drama and were disappointed it didn't.
I can arrange that! I can even put it to a vote. What was the best MMO /popcorn drama of the year?
This year -- like every year -- players in the comments of our award post for Most Underrated MMORPG of 2016 asked for the mean girl version of that award. Yep, you guys don't just want to vote on the underdogs and sleeper hits; you want to tell some popular game right to its face that it's not as good as people say.
So here you go -- get it out of your system right here in this post. What was the most overrated MMORPG in 2016? Cast your vote in the poll below. I've included all the same games as in the underrated poll, plus a few other major upcoming games.