Remember Warspear Online? It’s a 2-D fantasy MMO out of Russia from 2008, when it debuted on mobile devices. (This should make you feel super old.) The devs say that in bringing the game to Steam this week, they hope to “expand [their] audience by attracting desktop gamers who are lacking nostalgic MMORPGs.”
Valnir Rok is also new to Steam this fall. This week it dropped a good-sized patch, updating the “Viking-inspired online roleplaying adventure” game with a new PvP arena, an ability system, an NPC employment system, new experience mechanics, character idles, and a bunch of bug fixes.
Finally, there’s Broke Protocol, the cops-and-robbers voxelbox that’s a mash-up of GTAO and Minecraft, and it trickled out to Steam quietly a few months back, to mostly positive reviews (though no updates since). We’ve tucked trailers down below if there’s anything that strikes your fancy!
Whether or not you have forgotten that Boundless (formerly Oort Online) even existed, this voxel-based building MMO has been steadily churning out updates in its early access program. In fact, Boundless just came out with Update 181 with no signs that its team is willing (or able!) to slow down. Well, actually Update 181 is all about signs, but you know what we mean.
The sandbox recently “re-re-balanced” its XP and progression systems and still features regular wipes and resets due to testing needs. Other updates over the past few months revolved around chisels, beacon permissions, initial support for multiple characters, creature threat, the tutorial, build progression, and about a billion other things.
This Minecraft-inspired title might be worth a closer look at this point, especially as it’s sporting many positive reviews on Steam. We’ve put up a couple of guide videos to help you familiarize yourself with Boundless after the jump.
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!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Project Gorgon, Star Trek Online, Bless, Skyforge, Wakfu, Roblox, War Thunder, Aion, Elite: Dangerous, New Dawn, Travian, Astroneer, and World of Warcraft, all waiting for you after the break!
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.
Game Designer Raph Koster continues to ponder the significance of Ultima Online on this, the 20th anniversary of the MMORPG’s historic release. In a recent blog post, he answers a question from a fan who asked how UO pushed the industry forward.
To address this, Koster takes readers back to 1995, when the internet was mostly accessed over slow dial-up modems and the gaming landscape was much more different than it is today. After outlining a brief history of MMOs to that point, he lists several groundbreaking features that Ultima Online attempted, including:
- “Pure scale” with up to 2,500 players in the world at once
- Dyeable gear
- A world simulation that was varied in behavior
- A massively interactive world
- Widespread player killing, housing, and shopkeeping
- An actively managed community
- A flat monthly fee to subscribe
- A world where you could live and not just fight
All the time through playing Shroud of the Avatar, I found myself wanting to like the game a lot more than I did. And my brain kept turning back to Minecraft, which seems like a worthwhile comparison to make.
Much like SOTA, Minecraft is a game strongly based on the concept of making your own fun. You are definitely making your own adventure in the game. But at the same time, it seems very relevant to point out that the game starts by giving you a clear set of parameters to work within. Monsters will spawn at night, there are resources under ground, you break things to get better things, and then combine those things to make still better things. From there on out, much of the game is devoted to figuring out how these various elements play off of one another.
So they’re both sandbox-ish titles in which you make your own fun. Except that one of them starts by showing you the fun that you’re supposed to be having and giving you a goal, and it does so with absolutely no story to guide you along that route. It shows you exactly the sort of game it’s trying to be and lets you start working at meeting it halfway. But SOTA never quite got there, at least for me.
A few weeks ago in Massively Overthinking, the team discussed the resurgence in popularity of small-scale co-op games and whether that has impacted the MMORPG genre negatively or positively — if at all. This week, I’d like to aim that same question at the survival genre, so everything from ARK: Survival Evolved to Citadel Forged With Fire.
The question was sparked in part by a VentureBeat piece that points out SuperData’s numbers: Non-massive survivalboxes pulled in $400 million in the first half of the year. This is a lot of money that is not going into MMOs and MMORPGs that could be, which was the same thing we suggested about online co-op RPGs — only this subgenre is attracting builders and PvPers. Is it attracting them away from MMOs directly? I’ve asked our writers to reflect on the rise of survivalbox games: Do we play them? Do we prefer them, and when? How can we learn from them? Is the popularity of smaller-scale co-op hurting MMORPGs?
What’s that squishy sound? Oh yeah, it’s the sound of an IP being milked. I’m talking about Snail Games’ new Minecraft clone PixArk, which is apparently based in the same IP as ARK: Survival Evolved and Snail Games’ own ARK Park. The title is planned as a bit more of a survivalbox than voxelbox MMO counterparts like Trove, however. Expect first-person view, machine guns, and dinosaurs.
2P reports that Snail Games announced at ChinaJoy that the game will indeed come west, so yay! If you like voxel games, this one actually looks pretty cute. The trailer’s down below.
Time and again, we here at Massively OP have noted how RuneScape seems to be incredibly underestimated by the larger MMO community. For how popular it is, it never seems to get the respect and attention from the core MMORPG community that its online contemporaries do.
That is, until you head over to Twitch. According to the June viewing charts over on NewZoo, the fantasy MMORPG drew in an astounding 6.7 million hours of viewership over that month alone. This is enough to put it in 11th place, well ahead of titles like Destiny, Minecraft, Black Desert, and H1Z1: King of the Kill. It’s RuneScape’s world — we only watch it from afar.
The top 10 of the viewership chart is filled with the usual suspects, including much of Blizzard’s roster (World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm) and the dominant MOBAs of our time (League of Legends and Dota 2).
From Zulika Mi-Nam’s Adventures in Tale of Toast:
- Log into a game to do some play testing.
- “Hey, look at these cutsie graphics and those childlike animations!”
- Kill some level 1 and level 2 bunnies rabbits and some loot drops right on the ground from time to time.
- Find a treasure chest with a level 5 baddie guarding it.
- Make that baddie chase me around a tree and out run him back to that chest and loot it and get away: “Haha this is easy and I got a badass level 5 sword… gonna save that for later.”
- Go to town sell my trash loot and head back out.
- Take on a level 3 mushroom: “Pfft no problem.”
- Gonna go for this level 4 bat: “Woah this could go either way… depends on who lands the next hit….yah! Loot sound! Wait, he is bouncing away… I’m dead… then what was that loot?”
- Respawns and looks at inventory: “That… that was the sword I was saving, and it is just laying out there on the ground now.”
- Do the walk of shame to retrieve my sword and turn to shake my childlike fist at that bat. “I’ll be back! You… you fooled me with your cutsieness.”
It’s full steam ahead for Portal Knights, which launched yesterday on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. For those wondering if early access periods ever truly end, here’s one example of a definitive launch!
The dev team said that this is a nerve-wracking and exciting time: “You know, leaving early access is scarier than you think… What will new players think? Will our community think this is the end? So many questions! Be rest assured, just because we’ve now left early access, that doesn’t mean anything will change. Going forward, we fully intend on updating Portal Knights, like we always have done, and filling those updates with community requests.”
For those unfamiliar with the game, Portal Knights is a multiplayer RPG member of the extended Minecraft family. Players adventure through linked sandbox worlds while returning back to their own virtual homes every so often to build and craft. There are three classes available, and players can create teams of up to four to traverse these worlds. Portal Knights is priced at $20.
Love MMOs? Have a hankering for Minecraft? Your desire for the two aren’t mutually exclusive in the case of Wynncraft!
If you haven’t heard about it already, Wynncraft is a really impressive community-made MMO using Minecraft as its bones and sinew. The free game takes place on one of the largest seamless maps in Minecraft and has all of the staples that you’d come to expect from a fantasy F2P MMO: quests, dungeons, loot, crazy cosmetics, leveling, events, exploring, and all manner of aggressive mobs.
Wynncraft’s team boasts that the game has already seen over one million players pour through its gates in the four or so years that the project has been active. Get a brief glimpse of what it looks like below!
Chinese operator, developer, and publisher NetEase posted its Q1 2017 financial report this week, and the news is quite good for the company. NetEase made $2 billion in revenue during the quarter, out of which $1.6 billion can be attributed to game sales. This marks an astonishing 78% increase from Q1 2016 and sent U.S. stocks of the company up 3.6% this past Wednesday.
The end result? NetEase is enjoying nearly $570 million in profit thanks to its performance.
NetEase operates many of Blizzard’s games in China and has its own line of mobile and PC games. It attributed its Q1 success to the launch and huge popularity of Onmyoji in Japan, the release of several new mobile titles, and the juggernaut that is Hearthstone. The report singled out the latter for praise: “Achieved record number of quarterly active users for Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone.”