A job listing for a Blizzard dungeon artist
has the gaming community buzzing today, as this particular listing is for a “new and unannounced” Diablo
title. This confirmation of a Diablo
project undoubtedly comes as a relief to fans who might have feared that Blizzard had abandoned the franchise entirely.
“The minions of Hell are growing stronger,” the studio posted. “We’re working on a new, unannounced Diablo project. Are you a skilled dungeon artist? Come work with us, and together we will build something exceptional.”
Meanwhile, Diablo III is ramping up for Season 14, which will be the first season to revolve around a theme. In this case, it’ll be the theme of “greed,” so expect a lot more treasure goblins hopping around.
Back in May, we covered the bizarre silence surrounding Hi-Rez’s SMITE-infused free-to-play online card game Hand of the Gods. At the time, the information and update flow had completely and dramatically stopped; Hi-Rez was refusing to communicate with the community or the press about the fate of the title, causing players on Reddit and Discord to suspect the game was dead.
As it turns out, it’s not dead, but it’s as close as it gets. Just over a week ago, Hi-Rez president Stewart Chisam finally responded to player inquiries on Twitter.
“We have been working on and off on a nice bug fix patch to come out sometime soon,” he writes. “But no major content updates on the schedule. Servers will stay up as long as we have enough people wanting to play.”
I’d like to say that the game’s subreddit is filling up with farewells, but there are just a few, which probably won’t come as a surprise. Even an attempt at a postmortem hasn’t gotten much traction; players argue that stiff competition, marketing, balance, system requirements, bugs, and the mobile version were all factors in the game’s poor reception.
Missing Marvel Heroes and Super Hero Squad Online? Today’s newly announced Marvel game isn’t going to bring those back, but it might rekindle the romance, especially if you’re an online card game fan. Yes, Marvel has apparently teamed up with Nexon for a mobile TCG they’re calling Marvel Battle Lines. It’s boasting both a solo campaign and multiplayer PvP.
“Nexon, a worldwide leader in online and mobile games, in collaboration with Marvel Entertainment has announced MARVEL Battle Lines, a new strategic card battle game featuring hundreds of iconic Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains. In MARVEL Battle Lines, players collect and build the ultimate deck of Super Heroes and Super Villains to take into battle across an expansive single-player campaign with an original story written by Marvel writer Alex Irvine and a real-time turn-based competitive player vs. player (PvP) mode. […] Collecting cards from each battle in the single player or PvP modes, players can build diverse decks of powerful Super Heroes and Super Villains, mastering their strategies to take on greater challenges and compete with the best in PvP.”
The game is slated to release free-to-play later this year on iOS and Android.
Don’t panic, Elder Scrolls Legends players: In spite of that ominous-sounding tweet from Bethsoft today, your game isn’t going anywhere. But it is getting a new development studio, as the company announced it’s “handing off future development and ongoing support for the game from Dire Wolf Digital to Sparkypants Studios.”
“Dire Wolf designed and created a wonderful card game with The Elder Scrolls: Legends, one that we very much believe in and want to grow. We believe that this move allows us to deliver on the promise of Legends to our players in the best possible way under Bethesda’s guidance and direction. This change is also a commitment from us at Bethesda to better support the game with regular updates, new features, competitive scene support and the other requests from our fans. We have heard your requests and believe this is the best path to continue improving the game.”
It sounds as if the core game itself will remain the same, as will existing accounts, except in that updates will continue. But even in the follow-up FAQ, there isn’t a real explanation given for the switch to the new team.
Fortnite had another record month of revenue in April, according to SuperData’s latest global revenue report. “Epic’s Battle Royale shooter made $296 million in April across Console, PC and Mobile, up from $223 million in March,” says the firm.
But the more interesting story is SuperData’s assertion that “Grand Theft Auto V is finally showing its age.”
“GTA V Online revenue declined 9% year-over-year, ending an impressive streak of 12 consecutive months with year-over-year growth. GTA V Online has declined sequentially every month since the start of the year, likely in part due to the continued rise of Fortnite as well as a dearth of significant content updates from Rockstar.”
Hey, remember back in 2014 when Smilegate first announced MMOARPG Lost Ark? It’s been a long time. As I’ve written before, I was positively smitten with the gorgeous next-gen Diablo clone (and its NCsoft counterpart, Lineage Eternal) way back then. But it’s been pretty much nothing but delays and testing and restarts and more delays and testing in the ensuing four years (for both titles).
However, MMO Culture reports that the promised “final closed beta” for Lost Ark is beginning this week in South Korea, having formally revealed new trailers for three of the classes. And one’s a Bard! A new dungeon and TCG minigame are also on deck, while treasure hunting and sailing were added last year.
It’s still not a sure thing that Lost Ark will ever come here. While the Chinese version will launch next year under Tencent, Smilegate doesn’t have the cachet here that it does overseas; it runs Crossfire in the west but recently abandoned SkySaga mid-development.
Who’s ready for some news about Blizzard? Because boy, there’s a lot of it! Want some new World of Warcraft lore about Jaina? There’s a new comic out to explain why she is the way she is (this expansion, anyhow, because how the writers want her to act changes with the weather). Those of you who would like a more magic-happy version of Jaina, though, should just hop on over to Hearthstone… after checking out the newest balance changes incoming to the game.
Meanwhile, Heroes of the Storm has a new patch out which brings with it a brand-new event, Nexomania! (It’s a luchadore reference, for those unclear.) And Overwatch is going further in the toy field than we even considered, with upcoming LEGO sets featuring minifigures of several well-known characters. So you can play with them all the time!
Oh, and Diablo III is about ready to end its thirteenth season. Yes, that’s the Diablo life these days.
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 Hellion, Reign of Guilds, Skyforge, Old School RuneScape, War of Rights, Lineage M, Heroes and Generals, Aurcus Online, ARK Park, Dark and Light, Wild Terra, Citadel: Forged With Fire, and Hearthstone, all waiting for you after the break!
In a game like Hearthstone
, the job of balancing cards will never, ever be done. So if you like titles with stability and permanence, don’t play digital card games is what we’re saying. With this in mind, Blizzard revealed the next round of “balance changes”
that will be coming in a future patch.
The studio calls it balance, but the reality is that all of these changes are either nerfs to a card’s ability or an increase in the cost of the cards to better match the effect that it causes. Cards like Naga Sea Witch, Spiteful Summoner, Possessed Lackey, and Call to Arms are all going to cost more (a lot more in the case of the Witch), while Dark Pact is going to restore less health and The Caverns Below will create weaker minions.
Adjust your builds and meta outlook accordingly.
Stretch your mind back to February 20th, when Hi-Rez’s SMITE-infused free-to-play online card game Hand of the Gods formally launched. The studio appeared to be actively supporting the game back then, with patches and tournaments and packs and Twitch promotions.
And then, just about three weeks ago, the information and update flow completely and dramatically stopped.
Reddit is freaking out. Discord is freaking out. The general consensus and concern is that the game is dead. One rumor floated in the game’s chat is that there’s now just one Hi-Rez dev on the game and he’s also working on another game, but we stress that’s just a rumor. Either way, the devs aren’t communicating with the public, players, and press about this launched live title; Hi-Rez’s Stewart Chisam, who recently told SMITE’s subreddit that he aimed to improve patch quality and communication between that game’s staff and players, has not responded to a public inquiry made by a prominent YouTuber. The playerbase is begging for information and simply getting nothing.
Tabletop games and MMORPGs seem like they would go well together, but remarkably they often don’t. That’s true for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is that we have a lot more games adapting different source material separately. You can certainly run a Star Wars: The Old Republic-themed game with a Star Wars tabletop system, but neither one is based on the other. (Technically there was a supplement published for it, but that was covering the first two single-player games, which themselves were based on that tabletop system.)
But there have still been incursions from MMOs into the tabletop space, and MMOs which pluck that fertile ground for the seeds of inspiration. So let’s spend today looking at these games, when you can log off of your favorite MMO, gather around a table with your friends, and keep playing your favorite MMO. More or less.
No, your eyes do not deceive you: Noblegarden is coming back
a month after its run in World of Warcraft
. This time around, Hearthstone
is giving bunny snuggles to its players with plenty of eggcelent rewards.
Merely by logging on between May 9th and 13th, players will receive both a Golden Eggnapper and a Golden Devilsaur Egg as a gift. Beyond that, there’s a themed tavern brawl for those clinging on to spring as long as they can.
“In this egg-citing tavern brawl you’ll gather with other Hearthstone players to celebrate the season by dyeing eggs,” Blizzard explained. “One egg will spawn for you each turn, and you’ll get to use a deck of colorful dyes and special Noblegarden cards (plus 10 random class cards) to decorate it. Each dye applies a different buff, and at the start of your next turn your eggs will hatch into something cute. Or a bunny, if you didn’t use any dye (which is still pretty adorable).”
Reporting on Activision-Blizzard’s endless piles of money is about as much fun as reporting on how fifty-bajillion-zillion people are playing fork knife. No, I said that wrong; it’s about as much fun as taking a fork and a knife to my own eyeballs. But hey, it’s tradition, so here goes: Bobby Kotick and the gang have announced new records, measured in said piles of money; the company acknowledges it was a quarter “without large content releases” that nevertheless produced enough piles of money to surpass its own guidance, leading it to raise its outlook for more piles of money for the year.
“For the quarter ended March 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were a Q1 record $1.97 billion, as compared with $1.73 billion for the first quarter of 2017. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were an all-time quarterly record $1.46 billion. GAAP operating margin was 30%. GAAP earnings per share were an all-time quarterly record $0.65, as compared with $0.56 for the first quarter of 2017. […] Activision Blizzard’s operating margin was 39% and earnings per diluted share were an all-time quarterly record $0.78, as compared with $0.72 for the first quarter of 2017. […] Operating cash flow was a Q1 record $529 million, up 29% year-over-year.”