MOP reader Sally Bowls is on a roll with the good questions lately! She lobbed us one this past weekend that seems a good follow-up to a comment thread discussion about the problems inherent in unregulated three-way factional PvP/RvR (and how a game like Camelot Unchained will regulate it). By way of example, she noted that a certain MMO griefer famously argued in favor of strategy that basically made the opponent not want to log in, using tactics like creating timesinks and hassles in a sandbox. “Should the dominant faction on a RvRvR server ‘camp’ the smallest to try to drive them off?” she wondered.
“If it’s about fair PvP, then that is anathema. But if you see the game as being about your faction being at war with other factions, then not doing your utmost to win that war is incompetence. Neither is bad design per se, just a conflict in understanding of the goals. And will Camelot Unchained really be RvR, doing everything legal for your realm to win? Or will it be about PvP battles, with the RvR rhetoric being more marketing fluff than von Clausewitz and Machiavelli? If camping a mine hurts your kill/death ratio but makes the opponent weaker due to hassles or crafting, is that winning or losing? Is an RvR game really about realms vs. realms or is it just another BG?”
I’ve pitched Sally’s comments to the team for consideration in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Is RvR just a more carebear-friendly way to market FFA PvP? Do you play RvR or factional PvP to win or to have fun, and how does that differ from a more open FFA sandbox? How would you design three-way factional PvP to keep people from quitting and stop griefing before it starts?
Daybreak went all-out in PlanetSide 2 this week with a massive new update, though you probably wouldn’t know it unless you play the game. Let’s change that now: The update is called Critical Mass, and it constitutes “a major revision of the way continents are fought over and conquered” in the form of a continent locking revamp.
“One of the driving motivators of revitalizing the continent locking system is to encourage more strategy and competitive spirit in PlanetSide 2,” Daybreak explains. “Prior to this update, locking a continent was not only confusing for many players, but also happened abruptly, and often times without direct influence from the players fighting on the front lines. The new system intends to create a climactic end-of-continent encounter that challenges players not only as individuals, but as squads, platoons, and outfits. We want players to feel the rush of a hard fought victory, and reward them for partaking in it.”
There’s plenty more to the update, including new armaments, weapon adjustments, refreshed archetype interactions, adjusted vehicle and armor certs, a la carte cosmetics, and bug fixes. Let us know if you’re playing!
Even an old dog can find itself a fresh young pup in the right circumstances. Battleground Europe, originally known as World War II Online, finally made the jump to Steam last week as one of the newest full-scale MMOFPS games on the platform. This, despite the title being over a decade and a half old at this point.
It looks as though the title has reverted back to the original World War II Online title for the Steam launch. As of September 22nd, the game saw an increase of 45,000 players sign up for new accounts, which is no doubt sorely needed for this aging MMO. The small indie team is using this momentum as an opportunity to push out more improvements, such as newer art models and a streamlined tutorial.
“Population levels remain substantially higher than we have seen in years, routinely around the clock,” the team posted. “We’re very happy to report this progress and these production items coming (more not listed here) are intended to help bolster that success even further.”
Every MMO tells a story through the run of its life. A lot of those stories are pretty happy, too. Ultima Online may not be the most happening place in the world right now, but its story is about launching a genre and then running for two solid decades. That’s a pretty great story. However much it’s become a tale of mismanaged expectations, World of Warcraft kind of became the most popular thing for a long while and brought in tons of new people to the hobby. Even titles with sad endings often have bright stories; the end bit for City of Heroes sucks, but everything leading up to that was a gas.
And then you have these 10 titles. These are titles where the whole story is a tragedy, start to finish, and in many cases the tragedy isn’t necessarily over, but the story is still just plain sad. There are reasons, of course, maybe even good ones, but the result is that the narrative for these titles is pretty sad all the way through.
Daybreak is a whirlwind this week: First it broke up the H1Z1 party and got Just Survive its own apartment, and now it’s bringing PlanetSide 2 up to speed. The studio is unveiling what it’s calling Critical Mass, an update planned for later in August that overhauls the game’s victory point system.
“Previously, the VP system acted as a sort of checklist where factions would complete various objectives which then rewarded points to that faction,” Daybreak explains. “Earning these points was somewhat removed from the moment to moment experience, and would often reward factions for what they’ve done in the past, instead of painting a picture of the current state of a continent. This was especially noticeable toward the end of the process, where continents would lock abruptly, often interrupting high-intensity battles in a dissatisfying or anticlimactic way.”
To fix that, the team is removing random alerts, nuking the “checklist goals” from the system, changing how continent locking works, and providing scaling rewards. Expect it on the test server “soon” ahead of the PC/PS4 launch later in August.
Massively OP’s MJ has played sandboxes set in space, in prehistoric times, in apocalyptic wastelands, and in fantasy worlds. But until now, she hasn’t played one set in the world war eras! Foxhole has hit early access, and she is heading in to check it out. Unlike many games of these eras that are lobby-based, Foxhole is a persistent world. MJ’s not feeling especially keen on the combat side of things, but she can also participate in the other strategy elements like resources, supply lines and base building. Join us live at 6:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 12th, 2017
Enjoy the show!
In the pantheon of SOE’s (now Daybreak) flagship EverQuest franchise, there used to be a whole family of MMOs gathered around the table every evening. There was Papa EverQuest, looking a little wrinkled and worn but also radiating fame and authority. Next to him was Mama EverQuest II, a powerful matron of entertainment. And EverQuest Next used to be a twinkle in their eyes before it was extinguished.
Then, in the next room over was a cabinet. The cabinet was locked. Inside that cabinet used to be a weird abnormality that certainly looks like a member of the family, but one that hadn’t seen the light of day in quite some time. This member subsisted on the scraps of an aging console and the fading loyalty of fans, hoping against odds that one day he’d be allowed out for a stroll or something. His name was EverQuest Online Adventures, the EverQuest MMO nobody mentions.
EQOA was a strange abnormality in SOE’s lineup. While it was one of the very first console MMOs and heir to the EverQuest name, it was quickly eclipsed in both areas by other games and left alone. Yet, against all odds, it continued to operate on the PlayStation 2 for the better part of a decade before its lights were turned off. Today, let’s look at this interesting experiment and the small cult following it created.
Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “What ever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.
Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?
That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at whatever happened to PlanetSide 2, A Tale in the Desert, and Istaria (witness protection program name: Horizons).
MMOs these days shy away from calling themselves massively multiplayer, so it’s always strange when a game that we wouldn’t assume is an MMO confidently adopts the label. I’m talking about Foxhole, a war game we might have binned alongside World of Tanks or PlanetSide 2, but it appears to be more like Battleground Europe, as its devs call it a “massively multiplayer game where you will work with hundreds of players to shape the outcome of a persistent online war.”
“Foxhole is a large scale war game with emergent gameplay and unique sandbox features. The pre-alpha version of Foxhole has already been live for over a year and over 200,000 players have helped us shape the game as it is today. The process of developing the game with a live audience has allowed us to deliver on the gameplay that makes Foxhole so different from other online war games. We hope to continue this journey of development in Early Access, and make Foxhole an even better experience than it is today.”
Did we say early access? We did — the game hit early access yesterday and has surprisingly good reviews, probably because it’s a lot more finished that most of the pieces of crap that stumble into the program.
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?
It’s been a while since we checked in with the conflict over at PlanetSide 2, so what’s shaking with this multi-arms MMOFPS? Actually, quite a lot: The team pushed out a big patch yesterday that made significant revisions to the game’s Indar continent.
These changes focus on “improving combat flow in and around many bases, as well as increase the overall flexibility of the lattice. The central three bases, Ceres Hydroponics, TI Alloys, and The Crown are among the handful that have received massive revisions.”
The update introduced the Heatwave weapon series with its hot rod flames-slathered decals, a new NS-45 sidearm, and the VS Zealot Armor. Players should expect to find that the meta has shifted somewhat, with three continents allowed to be locked at any time and only 600 players needed to open up a second continent (down from 900).
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 Dota 2, Destiny 2, Battleground Europe, ArcheAge, Orbus VR, Final Fantasy XI, Hearthstone, TERA, Tibia, Elsword Online, Osiris New Dawn, League of Legends, Astroneer, SMITE, Warframe, The Black Death, and Gloria Victis, all waiting for you after the break!
It is sometimes hard to know how far back to go when chronicling the history of early MMOs and their ancestors. After all, this column has looked at several titles (such as Habitat and Neverwinter Nights) that do not fit the modern definition of an MMORPG yet were bound in blood to the genre nonetheless.
So if today’s game seems to be somewhat tenuously related to our favorite hobby, I beg your forgiveness in advance. However, I do feel that it is pertinent to our exploration of this wonderful genre. The game in question is Maze War, and it holds an admiral uniform’s worth of medals depicting firsts in the infant genre of video games. Most importantly for us, Maze War was the first graphical video game to be networked and allow players to interact and fight each other. You can see why that may tie in to our current situation.
While the game itself certainly never attained the complexity of modern shooters or RPGs, its innovation and pioneering certainly make it worthy of examination. So let’s dust it off and get to it!