Happy SuperData day! That's the monthly holiday when we pore over the market analysis report, freak out over something doing well, freak over something doing poorly, and then fight over definitions, the evils of trusting paywalled science, and why more MMOs aren't on the current list. This round, there's lots to bicker over -- but also some bits to celebrate in the February 2017 charts of top-grossing game titles.
On PC, while League of Legends, Crossfire, and Dungeon Fighter Online continue their top-three dominance, the rest of the roster has seen a bit of a shake-up, as Overwatch has fallen from #4 to #6 and World of Tanks has pushed past it as well as World of Warcraft. WoW's status is a tad confusing; last month, SuperData began reporting Western and Eastern WoW separately, even though it does not appear to be doing that for any other game. This month, it's omitted the West/East tags but still has two entries for WoW, so we're left to assume to top one is still West as it was last month.
On console, ARK: Survival Evolved has fallen from its #4 spot to #6. As always, we point out that ARK: Survival Evolved has yet to formally launch, and it's absurd that it's on this list at all, but fools and their money and all that.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from Destiny, Eternal Crusade, Elder Scrolls Legends, Hearthstone, Pokemon Go, MU Legend, Lineage II, ARK, Ultima Online, Sword of Shadows, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Ragnarok Online, Heroes and Generals, Elsword, and Dota 2, all waiting for you after the break!
We've been speaking with NCsoft West
off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters
(to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes
players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.
Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."
"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."
Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!
Today we're going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there's a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it's gratifying to see each one of these make the list.
Enough jibber-jabber, let's get to it!
South Korean Tencent affiliate Netmarble announced today that it will launch an initial public offering to the tune of $2.35 billion US. That works out to approximately 17 million newly issued shares.
As GI.biz explains, Netmarble is hoping to pay off debts and increase its holdings, building "towards a state goal of being in the top five global gaming companies by 2020."
Reuters calls the IPO the second-largest for the country, sandwiched between two Samsung IPOs.
In the west, the company is probably best known for games like Lineage 2: Revolution, Prius, and Uncharted Waters; its recent partnership with Disney came with a license for Marvel and Star Wars titles as well.
The next major chapter of Lineage II's long-running story arc is set to arrive later this month, as NCsoft revealed the Grand Crusade update yesterday.
The free update will include more story quests, class updates, changes to the ability system, improvements to the faction system, a new monster card collection system, an increase to the Adena cap, and UI tweaks.
"Adventurers will be called upon to aid in the defense of the Keucereus Alliance Base, journey through the Mystic Tavern to witness Kain’s fateful fall from hero to Embryo apostle, lead the offensive into the Messiah Citadel, and embark on all-new Exalted Quests to reach even greater power and renown," the studio said.
Grand Crusade is set to arrive on March 29th. Check out its trailer below!
For the first time in five years, Lineage 2 is opening up a brand-new server for its European community. The server, which is currently unnamed, will go live on March 21st for players who are looking for a fresh start.
"The new server will feature current Helios chronicles," the team reported. "The schedule for running key game features like castle sieges, clan hall auction, item auction, and olympiad will be announced later. As for the dimensional sieges and raids, we will watch the new server development and will go back to this subject in the future."
The team is holding a community-wide vote on a name for the new server. As is traditional, all Lineage 2 shards pull their names from in-game lore, and a dozen such titles have been nominated as voting candidates.
Netmarble's mobile spin-off of the Lineage series will be officially coming to the west, the studio revealed at GDC this week.
Lineage II: Revolution launched in Korea in December 2016 and was found to be a pretty faithful version of Lineage II itself. There is no release date for the wider release, which will be rolled out globally.
Since its release, the mobile MMO has pulled in an impressive five million players. The title should be coming out on both iOS and Android and uses Unreal Engine 4 for its robust visuals. You can check out some footage of a raid fight in action from Lineage II: Revolution after the break!
On the surface, fourth quarter 2016 financials
for MMORPG giant NCsoft
look solid. Yesterday, the company released its investor report, highlighting hefty year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter growth in sales and operating profit, both setting records for the studio.
Among NCsoft's chief games, Lineage as always drives performance, significantly so this quarter, but Lineage II, Aion, Blade and Soul, and Guild Wars 2 held more or less steady over their previous quarters too, though Aion and GW2 are down year-over-year.
Of note, WildStar's performance is no longer being reported separately, so we can no longer track its downward trends; it's now bundled unceremoniously into "other sales" -- not a good sign, but presumably better than the alternative.
This past year, we couldn't seem to go a week without bumping into news of some new mobile MMO or a tablet spin-off of some existing franchise. It seems as though the mobile market is still blowing up, and MMORPG developers are looking for a way to take advantage of the popularity and market penetration that these devices offer.
What does this mean? It means that in 2017, we have a whole lot of games heading our way. With any luck, some of them might unseat the low-quality half-breeds that seem to make up a bulk of the existing mobile MMO library and set a higher standard for fun and engagement.
Let's take a look at about two dozen mobile MMOs we could be getting in 2017 -- and which ones might be the new contenders for our undivided attention. Unless we mention otherwise, these titles will be coming out for both iOS and Android platforms.
If you missed it, Lineage II: Revolution is out right now in Korea. It's like Lineage II but mobile, which means you're probably imagining a dungeon-grinding game without many real MMO aspects to it. Steparu took the game for a whirl, however, and discovered the surprising truth that the game is, in fact, a fully featured MMORPG with pretty much everything you'd want from a game with Lineage in the title. There are quests, there are shared hubs, there's murdering other players for little to no reason.
The game also features an auto-play mechanic; anything your character is sufficiently geared for can simply be auto-played with a few taps, thus allowing you to save your attention for other matters. Possibly a good thing for a mobile title, but it does take actual play out of the equation slightly. You can check out some footage of the game in action just below; there's no localization announced just yet, so keep in mind that there are no assurances about when the game will come to these shores, although a wider global release was previously announced for 2017.
One of the most common questions that I'm asked from my adoring throngs on the street is, "Justin, where oh where can I get some of these marvelous MMO soundtracks that you talk about all of the time?" OK, that just never happens (on the street, that is), but people are often curious how they can go about starting to amass an MMO soundtrack collection or where to find their favorite album.
The sad truth is that so much music from these games is never officially released in any capacity, which is why I scour YouTube for fan rips of the music files. However, every so often I do discover a studio release somewhere, and I try to keep an up-to-date log on these to help others in their quest for video game scores.
So in the spirit of Christmas and sharing, today I'm going to show you how you can get your ears on more than 120 soundtracks and scores from MMOs, MOBAs, and other online titles -- some of which are free and legal for the taking. You're welcome; don't mention it!
It’s high time that the Battle Bards lie prostrate at the feet of their social and intellectual superiors, the high and mighty Elves! Yes, it’s a full episode of elven music, a virtual rainbow of harps and swirly magic and slightly grumpy hosts who use this opportunity to unload their gripes against this fantasy race.
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
We’ve got Episode 87: Elves! and the show notes for you after the break!