Massively OP reader Steve wants us to revisit the Daily Grind on making death more meaningful without making it more annoying. His letter was long, so let me paraphrase a bit:
“It feels to me like underlying point was, ‘MMOs are too easy, so how do we make them harder?’ The question of video game difficulty is something that is seldom ever tackled head-on, as it tends to draw out a somewhat vocal minority. There are so many worthy topics about how people define difficulty, twitch skills vs. depth, easy vs. hard, difficulty vs. accessibility, easy vs. engaging, shallowness vs. depth, and so on. These are things I’d love to really see discussed more online, and very few sites will actually touch it. But I think that MOP’s community is overall mature enough to actually have some discussions about this without it devolving into a fist fight.”
I’m sure you’ll prove him right! Right, guys? Guys? So let’s talk about MMO difficulty in this week’s Massively Overthinking. What do we really mean when we talk about “difficulty” in MMORPGs? Are games easier than they used to be, and if so, is there something studios should do to change that?
For those playing the now-free H1Z1 battle royale, a small Thursday patch might hold a few changes to improve your game experience.
It seems as though the primary purpose of this patch is to optimize the game’s performance, an effort which is vital to any PvP-focused title. Players using older computers will see the most improvement, although Daybreak is helping everyone out by putting an end to exuberant players who keep spamming the celebration emote.
Other tweaks include reducing the match countdown timer, showing kill receipts in team spectate mode, forbidding players from getting around ping restrictions by grouping up, and allowing players access to the map right away when going into Fort Destiny.
We’ve all been there. We’re playing our favorite MMORPG and then self-appointed professors of game history start arguing in world chat about firsts — usually, which MMO was considered to be the “first.”
As much as we all like to feel and be right about something, the truth is that history is messy and often ill-defined, even history as recent as that of video games. If you go looking for clear-cut facts and definitions, you might end up with an assortment of maybes, possiblys, and who knowses.
So when it comes to “firsts” in MMOs, there’s a lot of debate over, well, pretty much everything. One thing that I have noticed while covering The Game Archaeologist for many years now is that studios do love claiming to be first in various aspects. Whether or not these firsts are legitimate or can be challenged is debatable, but I thought it would be interesting to compile these claims into a list for your enjoyment and future world chat arguments.
If you play Guild Wars 2, World of Tanks, EVE Online, or World of Warcraft in Russia, you may find that access to these titles has become spotty or non-existent as of late. This is due to the Russian government cracking down on the Telegram messenger app, which came under fire for essentially allowing people to communicate without being spied upon by intrusive government agencies (and then refusing to grant said agencies backdoors into the system). Over 20 million IP addresses have been blocked in the country as of April 17th, a move that has affected many services and sites not related to Telegram.
The crackdown has basically shut down access to the login servers of Guild Wars 2 and EVE Online for some, prompting outrage and frustration among players who suddenly were not able to access their games.
As a wise man once said, if at first you don’t succeed, launch, launch again! Pocket MMO NTales: Child of Destiny has already enjoyed its global launch, but apparently developer RuleMakr thinks that it gets another try at misguided publicity, because now the title is about to roll out its grand launch. Wait, what?
Actually, we’re really talking about is a weirdly labeled content update. The mobile RPG is introducing many new guild features (levels, store, changeable logos), costume upgrades, the PvE coliseum, and in-game events.
“From daily login rewards to free costumes and hot time rewards, players will surely have enough supplies for their mission to save the kingdom,” the team said. Mmm. Hot time rewards.
NTales is a colorful-looking mobile 2-D MMO with a heavy emphasis on pet summons but also keeps players busy with raids and PvP. Android players can go ahead and download it right now or stay tuned for the trailer.
As if Warframe
Tenno didn’t have a large and lethal enough arsenal at their fingertips, now Digital Extremes is preparing to plug them into a brand-new warframe that wields the mighty power of cat
‘Tis true, fair readers. The new Khora warframe uses a metallic whip and commands a metal pet cat to, quote, “engulf enemies in a whirlwind of pain.” The 35th warframe to come to the game is being paired with a new team-based survival mode called Sanctuary Onslaught. This mode challenges up to four players to run through timed portals to lay waste to all enemies.
The Beasts of the Sanctuary update is coming to PC this week, with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to receive it next month.
How big a deal with the lootbox controversy that finally hit the mainstream last year? Pretty big, SuperData argues. In a new blog post, the analytics firm argues that “the loot box controversy hampered Star Wars Battlefront II out of the gate” as shown by the game’s monthly active users compared to its predecessor’s, and that the resulting dumpster fire has caused publishers to rethink lootboxes and self-regulate or at least modulate their greed – an effect we’ve already seen in the MMO industry too.
“At the upcoming E3, we’re likely to see presenters announce ‘no loot boxes’ or that paid content is ‘cosmetic only’ in order to get on the good side of creators and hardcore gamers,” SuperData predicts. “Loot boxes won’t disappear anytime soon given their success in games like Overwatch (over $600M of loot boxes sold through February 2018). In the short term, though, ‘No loot boxes’ will be the game industry’s own ‘gluten free water’ — and we’re likely to even see this slogan used to market titles where loot boxes would not make sense such as adventure games.”
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 Seal Online, Trove, Pokemon Go, Sea of Thieves, Tales of Gaia, Battlerite, War of Rights, PUBG, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Will to Live Online, and Prosperous Universe, all waiting for you after the break!
If we judged MMOs by their numbers alone — and I’m not suggesting we do so — then the original Lineage would be the crowing rooster strutting about the hen house. It’s also been one of those games that I’ve always intellectually acknowledged was a huge hit for some reason but never gave much attention. I think it’s because, contrary to many western MMOs, Lineage is primarily an Asian phenomenon. That doesn’t mean it should be shunned, of course, but just that it may be difficult to understand when you’re on the outside of it.
So let’s back up the memory truck to September 1998, when a then-fledgling NCsoft rolled out a Diablo-style isometric MMO and struck virtual gold in South Korea. At the time, gaming rooms were becoming a huge thing in the country. A recession had hit, giving people a lot of time with nothing to do, and the government was rapidly expanding the broadband network. In the face of this perfect storm, titles like StarCraft and Lineage became overnight household fixtures — and remained so for decades to come.
Even if you haven’t played Lineage and you don’t know anyone who does, trust me: Millions and millions of players have. As former Senior Producer Chris Mahnken once said, “Lineage keeps going because it’s just plain fun.”
What’s the fastest way to ruin your house? Throw a free party to people with no inhibitions, of course. So what’s the fastest way to break an online video game? Drop the price to zero for a weekend and throw the doors open wide.
This is the current plan of Lazarus, the early access space shooter with a Groundhog Day complex. From today through Sunday the 15th, the game is running a stress test with the intent to “break the game” so that the team can prepare it for a global launch in the future.
It might be a challenge to break Lazarus, as the team has made significant server improvements to handle the load. Other recent changes include upgrades to the NPC AI, a streamlined tutorial, and an anonymous data logging tool to help diagnose connection issues.
Give Pantropy credit for pluck: Less than a month after developer Brain Stone canceled the sci-fi shooter’s Kickstarter halfway through its campaign, the game is back up on the crowdfunding platform.
This time around the studio is attempting to raise a modest $24,633 for its vision of mechs, crafting, and base building. So far, it seems to be doing fairly well, with over $10,000 pledged by fans. The studio said that the community had grown by 50% since last month, which is another encouraging note.
Brain Stone encouraged fans last month by saying, “We have received multiple publishing and investment offers. We have decided to stay independent! Don’t worry we’ll continue to develop the game and it will be released on Steam early access this year.”
In the meanwhile, the team is busy working on flying bases, a tier 2 gatling gun and mining laser, map zoom, jetpacks, mech jumpjets, and additional concept art.
Patch 1.8.1 has arrived in The Division, bringing with it the “Xbox One X Enhancement Patch” that adds 4K rendering and other shiny, purdy visual improvements.
Players will get to experience a pair of new global events for experienced fighters. In the Blackout event, players will run around shocking people and trying to perform one-hit-kill melee attacks. In Onslaught, there are many different types of damage that have to be juggled depending on the enemy faced.
The update also includes 40 new commendations, two legendary difficulty missions, division tech increases, a global events vendor, and plenty of bug fixes.
Some big changes have happened over at World of Tanks
recently, and it’s the perfect day to show them off! WoT
celebrates its seventh anniversary today, and Massively OP’s MJ Massively OP’s is showing off the recent graphics overhaul. Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. to see how this game looks better as it ages.
What: World of Tanks
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 12th, 2018