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Working As Intended: The MMOs we lost in 2015

It's become tradition to fare well the MMOs that sunsetted in the preceding year, but that wasn't always the case. At the beginning of 2015, in saying goodbye to 2014's sunsetted games, I tried to put that into perspective.

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about how Vanguard's early stumbles foreshadowed the changing MMORPG industry. In January 2007, when Vanguard lurched its way to launch, the genre was barely a decade old; it was booming, and it had never suffered hardship on a massive scale. In the west, we'd seen only three "major" MMOs sunset (Motor City Online, Earth and Beyond, and Asheron's Call 2), and only one MMO, Anarchy Online, had "gone F2P," though we hadn't yet thought to call it yet because it was such a rare and new thing. In fact, it wasn't until 2008's first big wave of AAA, post-World of Warcraft MMOs launched and mostly flopped that MMORPG players gave much thought to the future of the genre and how WoW had reshaped (and possibly broken) it. Maybe not even then.

In 2016 and in 2015, sunsets are increasingly common, a result of market oversaturation, business model struggles, and changing gamer tastes and investment options. Let's revisit the games we lost in 2015 and consider what their sunsets portend for the year ahead.
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Undead Labs cancels Moonrise, cites lack of projected profitability

Pokémon-like battler Moonrise won't be seeing the light of commercial release, apparently.

Undead Labs announced today that after several months in early access testing on both PC and iOS, Moonrise wasn't quite working out the way the studio had hoped and would need to be shelved.

"What we've found is that while some people really love Moonrise, there were unfortunately many more people who played the game and then moved on after a few days," founder Jeff Strain wrote. "For a standalone, offline game that might be fine; but for an online game with significant server hosting costs and an expectation for ongoing development and new content, it can mean a game that not only doesn't pay for it's development costs, but might even cost money to operate."

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Not So Massively: Rust randomises penis size; Splatoon sells a million units

Nintendo's recently released Wii U shooter Splatoon sold over a million units worldwide in its first month, becoming one of the console's most popular games. The game has received several patches and new content additions, and is now running an in-game event called Splatfest. Online survival game Rust is in the news again for randomising players' penis sizes based on their Steam ID, and developers confirmed that a female model is in the works. Heroes of the Storm's upcoming Eternal Conflict patch is now available on the public test realm, and one player caught an incredibly close match on camera that literally came down to a fraction of a second.

Path of Exile revealed a few more legendary items and confirmed that its upcoming expansion, The Awakening, is still on schedule for its July 10th release date. Diablo III's next patch hit the public test realm this week, adding a whole new zone and an item based on Diablo II's Horadric Cube. And League of Legends revealed new support tank champion and River King Tahm Kench, who can swallow allies to keep them out of harms way and even eat enemy players on the battlefield.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week's Not So Massively, and don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!

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Not So Massively: Dota 2 plans a reboot, League of Legends nerfs Ekko

Valve revealed plans to reboot Dota 2 in the near future with its Dota 2 Reborn project, which moves the game over to a new engine, revamps the user interface, and adds huge new features such as custom games and better livestreaming integration. League of Legends donated $31,850 US in fines collected from last year's LCS fines to The Trevor Project to help battle online harassment, and Patch 5.11 predictably nerfed recently released champion Ekko. Online RTS Grey Goo got a new lease on life thanks to a pack of new multiplayer maps and the influx of thousands of fresh faces thanks to the Steam summer sale.

Path of Exile developer Chris Wilson delved into the details of changes to the endgame map system in its upcoming expansion, The Awakening. Two of Star Citizen's designers answered players' questions on shield and weapon systems, and confirmed that the small ship flight model we have in-game now is unlikely to significiantly change. And Warframe released its Tubemen of Regor expansion to the XBox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game, adding new weapons and maps, an 8-player game mode, and major graphical upgrades and engine optimisations.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week's Not So Massively, and don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!

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Not So Massively: Heroes of the Storm's launch; Need for Speed's online DRM

Nintendo's quriky new online paint-battle game Splatoon officially launched this week to very positive reviews. Monster-battling game Moonrise entered early access and promises Pokémon-like online arena battles. EA revealed that the recently announced Need for Speed reboot will require an internet connection to play. Star Citizen's devs accidentally leaked secret assets from the game's development, including hidden star systems and jump points on the game's map. And Path of Exile revised the release estimate of its upcoming expansion from late June to early July.

League of Legends released new champion Ekko this week as part of a huge balance patch and revived the old Hexakill featured game mode. Heroes of the Storm announced plans for its official launch, including a live show, game livestreams, and a week-long XP bonus for players. Elite: Dangerous detailed a ton of additional improvements and features coming in its upcoming Powerplay update. And as the prize pool for Dota 2's upcoming world championship tournament broke the $10,000,000 mark, two Korean teams decided to spend over $13,000 flying to Singapore to lower their latency and increase their chances of qualifying.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week's Not So Massively, and don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!
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Win a Moonrise stress test key from Massively OP [All gone now!]

Undead Labs' OARPGTCG -- I'm totally coining that -- Moonrise is due to hit Steam early access next week on May 27th. It's launching with two editions for PC and Mac: the $15 Warden version, which comes with exclusive skins, gold, and gems; and the $20 Guildmaster version, which comes with even more exclusive skins, gold, and gems.

If you'd like to try it out ahead of launch to decide whether it's worth your dough, then you're in luck because Undead Labs is planning a beta stress test for this very weekend and has invited Massively OP's readers to join in the chaos.

We've got 1000 Steam keys to hand out in this giveaway; all you've got to do is click the giveaway button below to snag one, courtesy of Undead Labs.

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PAX East 2015: Hands-on with Undead Labs' Moonrise

I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when I first laid hands on Moonrise at this year's PAX East so I suppose that "fast-paced party-based Pokémon" should not have actually come as a surprise. It sort of did, though.

Moonrise is the new game coming out of the developer currently best-known for State of Decay, and it's an interesting creature. Comparisons to titles like Pokémon are inevitable, as the game focuses very heavily on capturing and training up monsters. But the game is also a party-based affair with a lot of things going on at once, and the addition of the trainer as an active participant shuffles up gameplay significantly.

There's more lore to it than that, of course, but at this point the lore is only broadly sketched out and isn't particularly relevant. What does matter is that you field a team of two monsters and do battle with "corrupted" versions of monsters, slowly building up your own army and taking on other players and trainers.

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Undead Labs' Moonrise is coming to Steam

The colorful creature battler Moonrise is heading to Steam as part of its 2015 rollout.

Undead Labs announced that it has secured a place for Moonrise on the digital distribution platform and said that Moonrise will go into early access after its current round of beta. This Steam version means that PC players will get to join their compatriots playing the same game on mobile devices.

Moonrise is targeting an "early 2015" release window.

[Source: Undead Labs]

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