You’ve probably heard by now that EVE Online
is giving its free-to-play alpha clone characters a massive boost in power in December about a month after the launch of the Lifeblood
expansion. The news has been spreading through the gaming media
since it was announced last week at EVE Vegas 2017
and the reception online has been generally positive. Some existing players are worried that the change might even be too
generous, with fears that veteran players may let their subscriptions lapse and play for free, or that the new skills might be abused to create an endless army of ganking alts.
There’s no doubt that the changes will help to close the power gap between subscribers and free players and will open up new avenues of gameplay. Free players will finally be able to fly tech 1 battlecruisers and even battleships, and cross-training for multiple races will unlock multi-faction ships such as the Sisters of EVE exploration ships. Alpha clone players will also finally be able to use tech 2 weapons and fly many of the ship setups flown in massive nullsec wars, though the way that the new skill limit is being implemented may actually benefit old and returning players more than new ones.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into the free-to-play changes, briefly examine the power gap between free and subscribed players, and look at who will benefit most from the change.
So you’re tired of visiting far-flung post-apoc space stations, fantasy ghost castles, underground slime lairs, and zombie grottos on Mars. What’s next? How about… Earth?
Aussie MMO Virtual Earth Online may be up to that challenge, at least if you can handle the graphic style. It looks like a mash-up of Minecraft and Second Life, with the whole world (even, apparently, your house) built out with voxels. Developer Gavin McDonald told us that building mats were on the docket for insertion over the weekend and the game has just gotten a new graphics engine after six years of development (it was Greenlit back when that was still a thing). While the original game is properly an MMORPG, or perhaps a massive online virtual world, a new single player survival mode is also rolling out (check out the video of that in action down below).
The game appears to be freely downloadable, but the trading post is offering microtransaction buildings and items for as little as 5 cents.
During this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I attempted to tackle a question sent in by commenter and listener Sally Bowls – specifically, she wanted us to speculate on what a post-launch monetization plan for Star Citizen might look like.
“Assuming they have a lot of overhead and expense, are they going to fire most of their employees at launch? Keep them and support them with subscriptions? DLC? Cosmetics? A stream of new ships would be my first guess – but new ships good enough that people spend $50M-$100M per year withouth causing old customers to think the new shiny invalidates their previous purchase? That seems to me a non-trivial tightrope to walk.”
Put away your instinct to joke that it won’t matter because Star Citizen is never coming out. Let’s just reasonably assume that it does eventually launch into something the studio will call more or less ready. How do you think Star Citizen will make money after launch? That’s the question I’ve posed the Massively OP team for this round of Massively Overthinking.
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 is Chronicles of Elyria? We first learned about the game and its goal to redefine the MMORPG genre back in 2015. Since then, CoE has been developing steadily, especially after the huge influx of capital gained through Kickstarter and then on-site crowdfunding. Folks could follow the progress through numerous dev blogs, videos, and even the chance to test bits of gameplay at various PAXs. Some bits of that development, however, have raised questions; prospective players have voiced concerns about the pay-to-win and gankbox stigmas, the complex tribe system, and the admittedly broad scope of the game.
I sat down with Executive Producer Vye Alexander and CEO/Creative Director Jeromy Walsh at PAX West to discuss these issues and more.
With its domination over Steam and 10 million units sold, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has the industry’s direct and rapt attention. But this immense success hasn’t come without obstacles, particularly as the studio attempts to expand and wrangle a monster success.
“The biggest problem we’re having at the moment is the server platform, because we’re trying to develop it on a production system, which is super hard because you’ve got millions of players — literally millions — coming through the doors every day,” said Bluehole Creative Director Brendan Green.
The early access shooter has also seen stiff backlash due to its decision to introduce microtransactions into the testing process. While Green said that the percentage of players expressing dissatisfaction is relatively small, it has still led to a review bombing campaign on Steam.
Let’s face it: Players will never be completely happy. Your average player may swing from a most ardent fan to a scathing critic in the span of an hour, if the circumstances are right. So how’s it going for Destiny 2’s
console crowd following launch? A little of both, it turns out.
Not everyone is happy with Bungie’s choice to make shaders (gear dyes) a one-shot prospect. Some are grousing that this decision may be underpinning future microtransactions in the cash shop. On the positive side, Destiny 2’s customized beginning that celebrates players’ past achievements in the previous game (including giving a nod to their friends who were with them) has received applause.
You can check out an example of the opening after the break. As a bonus, we’ve got an Entertainment Weekly video highlighting the principle voice cast for the game. It’s just another excuse to squint and imagine that Captain Mal is back, really.
There’s really no two ways about this particular tidbit of news. CCP is adding loot boxes to EVE Valkyrie, according to a recent interview. The boxes are expected to drop about every two battles on average, with each box containing random items including cosmetic items and experience boosters. If all of that sounds like exactly what you would expect from the statement “CCP is adding loot boxes EVE Valkyrie,” well, you’ve done this dance a few times.
There’s no word at this point about said boxes being added to a microtransaction store, but all things considered you can probably mark it as highly likely at the very least. You can also get at least one box for completing the in-game tutorial, so that’s added motivation to learn how to fly your craft. Those of you who went into a spontaneous rage-seizure upon seeing the term “loot boxes,” of course, can jump straight to the comments.
Gosh, you don’t think this might be tied to making the game no longer require a VR headset, could it?
Absolver’s unique style of multiplayer online combat is set to go live on Steam and PS4 tomorrow, and Devolver Digital has a new trailer out today to hype the launch.
The fanbase has previously griped about the short PvE campaign and region-locked PvP, the latter of which will presumably remain the core of the game post-launch.
The base game is currently on sale for $26.99 on PC; there are apparently no plans for irritating microtransactions or a season pass-like subscription, just expansions as needed. Anybody diving in? Trailer is a go!
Let’s face it: There isn’t really a huge pool of MMORPGs from the 1990s to explore in this column. By now I have done most of them, including some of the more obscure titles. Yet there has always been this one game that I have shied away from covering, even though it (a) was an actual MMO from the ’90s and (b) is still operating even today. And that game is, of course, Furcadia.
So why my reluctance? To be honest, I suppose it was my reluctance to tackle anything in the “furry” fandom without knowing how to handle it. I don’t quite get the fascination with wanting to pretend to be an animal, and some of the expressions that I’ve seen in the news and online from this community have made me uncomfortable. Thus I kept away because I was worried that a piece that I wrote on Furcadia would devolve into a nonstop stream of jokes to cover that personal disquiet.
But I’ve tiptoed around this MMO long enough, and I have come to realize that there is virtue in earnestly trying to understand a subculture that is outside of my bubble, even if I don’t end up appreciating or liking it. Casting off preconceptions and simple snark, let us take a look at this unique title and see what it has to offer for the larger genre.
SuperData’s July 2017 revenue report isn’t going to surprise anyone, I suspect, but it’s worth a look. On the PC side, there are no new entries since last month, and though League of Legends still tops the list in terms of global revenue, the rankings have been reshuffled, with World of Warcraft moving up to 5th, Dungeon Fighter Online displacing Crossfire, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds holding steady in the middle of the pack, and Dota 2 slipping down several places. (Expect Dota to resurge next report.)
On mobile, Pokemon Go has returned to the list for the first time in several months, landing at #7. Lineage M debuts at #3 for mobile, but Honor of Kings and Fantasy Westward Journey retain their top spots.
The analysis firm throws nods to Grand Theft Auto V, still riding in the front car of the console train. “Grand Theft Auto V stands strong for another month,” SuperData says. “Through its microtransactions model, GTA Online grew significantly year-over-year for the month of July across console and PC. It did not outperform its record-breaking numbers in June.”
Earlier this week, MOP’s Justin expressed frustration over lockboxes, feeling especially provoked. “As both a player and a journalist, I find it insulting when an MMO studio wants me to get excited about its lockboxes,” he tweeted. “They are poison.”
MOP reader and gamer Iain (@ossianos) wants to hear more about poison! “I’d be interested to read an article on your thoughts, and those of the MassivelyOP staff, on how MMOs could otherwise make money,” he tweeted back.
Challenge accepted! And perfectly timed for this week’s Massively Overthinking topic. Imagine (or just remember) a world without lockboxes. How would MMOs and other online games survive without lockboxes here in 2017? What should they be doing instead, and what might they have to do when the inevitable gachapon regulation comes westward?
Hey, Path of Exile
console fans. Have you been moping on the sidelines throughout the long PC beta for Fall of Oriath
? Were you sad to find out it’s launching on PC on August 4th
? Then I have good news for you!
“Grinding Gear Games has announced today that its highly anticipated massive expansion, Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath, will launch its beta for Xbox One at 2pm pacific on Wednesday, July 26th.”
That’s literally right as this post is going live; you can run over and register right now. “Space is limited and players selected will receive their Xbox One beta keys via email,” warns the studio.
As we’ve previously covered, the expansion adds literally new everything, from new skills and bosses to new locations, plus the new pantheon system, five new acts, and the difficulty level system. Just getting caught up? Don’t miss our February preview and reveal, our steam and hands-on with the PC beta, and our E3 interview on the expansion!