As is traditional for SMITE, the update comes with a ton of exclusive themed skins. We've got two extra existing skins that match the theme to give away to our readers today: Celestial Isis and Stargazer Anubis. Onward to the giveaways!
Massively OP reader Gail made an interesting observation in one of the City of Heroes Master x Master drama threads about what she called "corn flake games." A family she knew that ran a grocery store quibbled over how to stock it: One sister "always wanted to cram the cereal aisle with the latest cartoon character high sugar high profit fads." The other sister's refrain?
"'Corn flakes. People in this town buy corn flakes.' Corn flakes, while not hugely profitable, were steady dependable sellers. In the MMO market, CoH was a corn flake game. It wasn't going to magically turn into WoW overnight. It wasn't going to suddenly break out and take the gaming world by storm, though with the huge surge in superhero movies I wonder what some good advertising would have done. But it had a sizable group of steady customers who provided a stable profit. That's nothing to sneeze at."
That's precisely why the sunset was so baffling when most games would kill for a subscription playerbase of 100K: It was a steady earner. And it was and is surely not alone. What else do you think is a "corn flake" MMO? Or to put it another way: What's the most stable and dependable MMORPG (besides WoW) right now?
Last week, when Guild Wars 2 revealed its latest minipet, there was a minor squabble on the forums as some players objected to it. The minipet depicts a fish flopping around gasping for air, like, y'know, dying fish do. Worth pointing out here is that this fish doesn't die; it just follows you around suffocating eternally because minipets are magic.
The original poster wasn't screaming for PETA or anything, just raising the question for feedback. "While I know it’s not real, it does give me an 'Ick feeling' as I watched it lie there gasping for air, so I would vote for a change in animation," the player wrote calmly, asking for other opinions. The replies started out well, but it didn't take before the insults started: the OP was "ruining a gag" with "political correctness" and "whining" and "safe spaces," the usual. Oh, MMORPG forums.
Much-loved 2004 MMORPG City of Heroes, which sunsetted prematurely in 2012, dominated the headlines this week as NCsoft announced it was resurrecting a piece of the game's legacy by adding CoH NPC Statesman into its upcoming MOBA, Master x Master, leading gamers and bloggers alike to opine on the subject, even after one NCsoft employee stepped forward to claim the decision as his own personal "passion project."
Speaking of necromancy, I had a desert-themed necro/thermal Mastermind who was a ton of fun.
Read on for the very best of this week's MMO news and opinions.
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!
When you take the best screenshot in the world and want to impress your friends, do you find that you end up exaggerating a tiny bit? Perhaps with wide-flung arm motions and tall tales of shutter speed and multiple lenses?
Reader Matthew dishes up a boast for us from Elder Scrolls Online: "This screenshot amuses me for two reasons. Firstly, my friend Jacob and I met up yesterday for the first time in a week and discovered that we'd somehow dyed our gear almost the same color. Secondly, Jacob decided to mess around whilst I was taking a screenshot but his dancing animation plus my character's idle 'look around' animation has randomly made it look as though Jacob's Dragon Knight is telling my Sorceror how big the monster he just killed in the dungeon behind us was!"
This is when kobolds mysteriously transform into elder dragons through the power of storytelling. Onward and upward!
One of the things that I find neat about games like Rend, Crowfall, and Chronicles of Elyria is that all of these games are by their very nature meant to be short-term affairs. The game only lasts so long. In some cases it's a scheduled thing, in other cases it's more an organic result, but all of them wind up in an end state. Nothing lasts forever, and eventually it's time to count the victor and move on.
This isn't actually a new idea in the MMO space, of course; A Tale in the Desert has been run using this structure for quite some time, The Matrix Online was in part based on the idea that every bit of the story would only last for so long, and progression servers like the ones EverQuest runs are meant to slowly catch up to the present until, well, they're caught up. But it's definitely reaching the point of being a full-on trend for these games in development to be time-limited.
What's nifty about this approach is that no one gets to stay on top forever, and it gives a certain point to start and stop without missing out on things. Of course, that also means it's easier to just stop playing after a certain point without feeling as if you're missing things, turning the game into shorter-term play by its very design. What do you think? Do you like the idea of limited-time MMOs?
Make My MMO: Star Citizen's subber promo, Planet Nomads' early access, Project Gorgon's bards (March 25, 2017)
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen capped off a week of DirectX revelations and mega map explanations with a round of celebrations -- for its fifth year of subscriptions. Folks who join the game's dev subber program pick up a magazine, discounts, and extra test access; sub before April 17th while the promo is live, you get vending machine flair for your hangar. At least you'll have cold beverages while you wait for the game, right? (Thanks, Cotic!)
Elsewhere in space MMOs, congrats are due to Planet Nomads, which was Kickstarted last year and is now plotting an early access launch for April 18th.
And in epic news for fans of the best video game class of all time, Project Gorgon rolled out the bard support skills for testing this week. Don't think you're just going to pick up a lute and start strumming, either: "As you advance in Bard skill, you will also need to improve other skills, including performance, vocabulary, and poetry appreciation." Bring your thesaurus!
Meanwhile, ECO patched in some major upgrades to its economy, Starfighter is nearing half its goal with 20 days remaining (thanks Crow!), Ever, Jane's beta picked up horseback riding features, Camelot Unchained danced with its own bot army, City of Titans previewed its core archetypes, SOTA nabbed a new newsletter layout, and The Exiled's early access began its second season.
Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.
Most of the time, if you have something to say, you should say it once. That's enough. Just once, then move on. Make your point, make your argument, then move on with your life. If you think that a television show is really bad, say it once. Then don't watch it. Stop talking about it. Move on with your life.
You convince few people by saying the same thing over and over. In fact, you're more likely to sound petulant than sounding convincing. If new evidence arises, that's a different story, but if you're talking about something that hasn't changed since you initially said it, you're not adding anything new to the discussion. You're just repeating yourself, and you're sounding as if that's all you have to say.
So just say it once. For example, this week, just tell us what you're doing in the What Are You Playing comments one time. Don't post three comments telling us what you're doing over the weekend. Just once.
You could be forgiven for kind of thinking that Pathfinder Online was dead in the water, but it turns out that there's still hope. A surprise announcement stated that the game is moving forward once more, that it's going to be finished, and that there's reason to be hopeful from here on out. So if you're a big fan of the game or what the designers originally promised, don't give up just yet!
Other beta news this week was... well, let's face it, it was weird. What do I mean? See for yourself.
- Chronicles of Elyria limited how many monarchs at the $10,000 backer level can rule over its lands, which is fine in and of itself (a $10,000 price tag is rather limiting to start with) except there are already more monarchs than lands. Clarifying the process didn't exactly mollify those already upset.
- Master x Master managed to ignite controversy around its next beta test dates by adding Statesman to the game. That was... there's no good analogy there. NCsoft also showed off two other characters, but Statesman kind of dominated perception.
- Now that The Repopulation is back online, the team is hard at work getting all old backers back online with the game... and fixing an apparent slew of bugs that have to be addressed before any further patches. Whoops!
- Ever, Jane has added in horseback riding and carriages. That's all. That's just cool; we need some stories that are unambiguously good news.
- A big patch for Conan Exiles has corresponded to a building and structure wipe on the official servers to compensate for exploits. Private servers are not obligated to join in. Which would be more brutal if not for the fact that the game is in early access, after all...
See what I mean, though? It's been a weird week. Perhaps you can feel a bit better about the week by checking on the list just below, which has all sorts of games on it. Of course, some of them may have crept into a different test status without our notice, which is also weird, so please let us know in the comments if you spy that.
I don't get super angry in MMORPGs anymore -- if something really upsets me, there are 20 other solid games waiting for my attention. But I can think of specific instances that really upset me over the years, like when I spied exploiters I'd reported half a dozen times continuing to exploit, or when I realized a dev studio still hasn't fixed basic problems like ganking the opposite faction's spawn point a decade later, costing me hours of time waiting for wackadoodles to get bored and leave. I definitely still shout at my screen when I see terrible players fighting on the road and not the node, lemme tell ya, but I've probably been the most angry at people I thought were friends who turned out to just be using me or my guild for some benefit.
I have not, however, ever been so angry that I rammed my head into a monitor causing it to shatter and my friends to have to extract my bleeding face from its shards. Like this guy.
Nope, nowadays, I just walk away, find something else to do or play. My time is too precious to waste on leisure activities that tick me off. Plus, I like my monitor. And my face.
How about you? Have you ever become extremely angry in an MMO? Why? And how do you channel your anger in MMOs?
Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.
For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?
My initial foray into MMORPGs was, to put it nicely, quite ungraceful. I wasn't even aware that they were a thing until about the year 2000, when I started to notice EverQuest and Asheron's Call boxes on the shelves. But stories about addiction from friends and the seeming obtuse nature of these games kept me from trying... until fall 2001, that was.
That's when I saw a sci-fi title lumped together in this unknown category, and I had liked Funcom's The Longest Journey so much that I thought I'd take a chance on this odd online game. My subsequent experiences in Anarchy Online were fragmented, ignominious, and confusing as all get out. It was so weird, in fact, that I needed a "redo" of City of Heroes several years later to properly get onto the MMO bandwagon (and I haven't fallen off since!).
So what was it like being a total Anarchy Online -- and MMO -- noob back in the day, feeling out this game from a position of complete ignorance? Glad you asked, friend, because I'm going to tell you all about it.