Alien, quiet, and weird — that’s the Anarchy Online soundtrack for you in a nutshell. For the first episode of 2018, the ever-contentious Battle Bards are back to quibble about, gush over, and nitpick the score to one of the older sci-fi MMOs on the market today.
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 113: Anarchy Online (or download it) now:
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 Rend, Sea of Thieves, The Black Death, Warframe, HEX, Fragmented, MU Legend, Final Fantasy XI, Monster Hunter World, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Dota 2, Wurm Online, Ultima Online, and Path of Exile, all waiting for you after the break!
Ever since I’ve been writing this Lord of the Rings Online
column — which spans back to 2010, if you can believe it — I’ve started out every year with a little tradition of making a wish list that I’d like to see happen for the game. This year, I actually debated whether or not to do it, because Standing Stone Games has already sort of laid out its big plans for 2018 (or at least some of them) and I know that the studio’s smaller stature means that we probably can’t expect as much as we once did.
But then I thought, hey, it’s tradition. And why is it a bad thing to aspire to greater things and encourage the studio to reach for those? Should we just roll over and give up on this title that we love? Far be it! So I’m dusting off some old ideas and tossing in a few new ones to give to you my list of 11 things (for 11 years) I want to see happen in 2018 for LOTRO. Let me know what some of your wish list items in the comments too!
We named the sad death of Marvel Heroes the greatest MMO disappointment of 2017, and it appears it’s not even over yet. Redditors noticed that on January 4th, three creditors – Secret 6, Playchemy, and Caitlin Capes – filed claim against the assets of Gazillion, or rather, whatever is left to fight over following the company’s apparent collapse last year.
Secret 6 appears to be a multinational game dev studio known best for its art production (Ronald Schaffner is its president), while Playchemy is a mobile development studio. Caitlin Capes’ linkedin shows her as having been an associate producer on Marvel Heroes as well as on the multiplatform VR game Gazillion was reportedly working on. In total, MMO Fallout reports, the three are claiming nearly $700,000 in unpaid debt, the bulk of which is allegedly owed to Playchemy.
One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.
But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2018 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.
Here’s an interesting peek into game development from the pens of Grinding Gear Games. The studio shared a story
about one of Path of Exiles’
failed experiments in the spirit of enlightening players as to the choices and consequences that ambitious ideas create.
The story in question concerns a monster created for Act Three called the City Stalkers (later changed to The Undying). These were practically invincible undead mobs that dwelled solely in the shadows of buildings and couldn’t be killed until later in the act when players found a special support gem that would disable the mobs’ regeneration.
While the concept was cool, the implementation brought up numerous issues. The devs said that the lethal encounters were “too aggressive” considering permadeath modes, that the mobs could be kited to the edge of sunlight, the new gem would mess up players’ builds, and more.
Last year was positively stuffed with updates, expansions, and cool stuff. A lot of years I struggle to remember which major updates happened in the past year, due partly to my own faulty memory but due largely to the simple fact that not a lot of them really stuck out for me. This year? We were awash in updates. Some games literally gave me multiple choices about which update I thought was “the best” just because, well, there were so many.
So the list that follows is, honestly, a fragment of what could be chosen. At least one of them is something you will probably disagree with. And that’s fine, because thankfully, last year (as mentioned) contained tons of great updates for people to enjoy. So without further ado, let’s delve into the best updates of 2017 and gush for a bit about how many cool things got added to games last year.
It’s true that we lost a lot of MMOs in 2016 — bigger and more important ones than in 2014 and 2015. 2017, however, has been a different sort of beast. The list is long, and while it’s painful for those whose games are gone, the genre didn’t lose many major MMOs this past year. And that startles me.
Marvel Heroes was surely the most dramatic of all the sunsets, given that it shut down early without notice. Earlier in the year, we saw Daybreak put an end to Landmark after less than a year of live operation, while Turbine let the Asheron’s Call franchise go, Firefall formally closed, Club Penguin’s sunset broke the internet, and NCsoft called it quits with Master X Master. A number of other MMOs simply halted development – Perpetuum, Sword Coast Legends, and SkySaga being the most prominent of those. And on a more positive note, there were a few sunsetted MMOs that were revivified, including Otherland, Uncharted Waters Online, and RaiderZ.
Farewell, old friends.
Ship of Heroes is super-jumping right into 2018 with two documents of note. The first is a retrospective of what the Heroic Games team learned from the community in the past year, including the fact that players want harvesting, crafting, and trading mechanics as well as crowd-control and pet mastery classes and Halloween. The team also says it understands the community’s desire for solid character creation and combat, details on character powers, and real gameplay video demonstrating development progress – particularly a mission video.
“A powerful character creator, and a positive community, are the two most important features of SoH, as judged by the voters in our polls,” writes the studio.
The second document, published here exlusively on Massively OP (not sponsored), is a reflection on the state of the MMORPG industry, particularly the superhero corner of it and how Ship of Heroes fits in, penned by Heroic Games’ Casey McGeever. We’ve included the whole piece below:
With 2017 officially over and done, Steam’s taking a moment to report on its best-selling games over the course of the whole year. While there are no specifics shared as to which title sold how many copies, Valve does roughly rank games according to overall sales.
In the “platinum” category are several familiar online titles, including ARK: Survival Evolved, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, H1Z1, Warframe, and Dota 2.
Moving down into “gold,” we find Elder Scrolls Online crowing happily. “Silver” sellers mark Conan Exiles, Black Desert Online, War Thunder, and Path of Exile among the third-tier titles. The list is rounded out with other MMOs and MOBAs like Paladins, Elite: Dangerous, and The Division.
Steam’s Winter Sale, which contains many of these games and more, is ending on January 4th.
Remember Kingdom of Loot? It’s cute, it’s pixelated, and it’s Secret of Mana meets Diablo in early access. So how is that working out? Well, the most recent video from the team shows off the game’s upcoming world map system, which is almost ready. Not quite ready, no, and you can see some framerate stutters due to the video being from a development machine, but the important thing is that it’s recognizably world-map-ish.
This particular video is devoted to showing off the world map, entering and exiting from various points, and so forth, so there’s no combat to speak of. It should, however, give you a navigational preview before the update goes live. Check it out just below if you feel like you haven’t had quite enough pixel-based artwork in your life recently.
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
Blizzard took the month of November with huge announcements for World of Warcraft, specifically the Battle for Azeroth expansion and vanilla-flavored WoW Classic servers.
Meanwhile, we saw the sunset of Motiga, the sunset announcement for Master X Master, and the abysmally handled and abrupt end of Gazillion and Marvel Heroes.
In happier news, Kakao took the wraps off its next mega-MMORPG, Ascent: Infinite Realm, specifically targeting western players.
And lockboxes continued to drive conversations around the law, the cost of games development, the press, and gambling, and not just because of EA: Guild Wars 2’s mount lockboxes and Star Citizen’s land claims sales reminded MMO players that monetization problems aren’t just for mainstream gamers. Still, we doubt anyone will be forgetting the ol’ claim that lockboxes create a “sense of pride and accomplishment” any time soon.
Read on for the whole list!
Last week, we posted a rundown of the most popular MMORPG articles of 2017, calculated strictly by the number of pageviews they got. Today, we’re going to take a look at the most popular articles of 2017 as measured by comments, which provides an entirely different overview of the year and the genre.
This list is a little wonky as we couldn’t keep a lot of our January comments when we were booted off Livefyre. (Some of the old comments were restored, but others were simply lost because Livefyre wasn’t properly saving them back. Long story.) So technically, we lost a month. Still, I think we have a pretty good picture of what people really truly want to talk about (which isn’t always the same thing you like to click on!).