online shooter

Analysts peg Overwatch League at a potential $100 million in its first year

One of the big announcements from last year's BlizzCon was the addition of the new Overwatch League, a project Blizzard is using to help push competitive gaming and branding with a dedicated e-sports organization. It's still a little early to say how successful it's going to be, but analyst predictions have it pegged as a potential moneymaker of $100 million in its first year. That's a lot of money for something where the game is already being made and balanced.

The prediction was made by investment management firm Morgan Stanley and outlines several potential futures, with the $100 million figure requiring about 72,000 regular viewers during the season. Morgan Stanley also predicts that much will depend on the future of e-sports as a viable market, depending on whether competitve gaming turns out to have a broad appeal or fails to connect with a larger paying audience.

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SuperData February 2017: World of Tanks perks up, Hearthstone is sinking

Happy SuperData day! That's the monthly holiday when we pore over the market analysis report, freak out over something doing well, freak over something doing poorly, and then fight over definitions, the evils of trusting paywalled science, and why more MMOs aren't on the current list. This round, there's lots to bicker over -- but also some bits to celebrate in the February 2017 charts of top-grossing game titles.

On PC, while League of Legends, Crossfire, and Dungeon Fighter Online continue their top-three dominance, the rest of the roster has seen a bit of a shake-up, as Overwatch has fallen from #4 to #6 and World of Tanks has pushed past it as well as World of Warcraft. WoW's status is a tad confusing; last month, SuperData began reporting Western and Eastern WoW separately, even though it does not appear to be doing that for any other game. This month, it's omitted the West/East tags but still has two entries for WoW, so we're left to assume to top one is still West as it was last month.

On console, ARK: Survival Evolved has fallen from its #4 spot to #6. As always, we point out that ARK: Survival Evolved has yet to formally launch, and it's absurd that it's on this list at all, but fools and their money and all that.

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Rumors swirl around the Destiny 2 'announcement' for both lore and a PC version

Destiny 2 was announced yesterday... or teased, more accurately. The point is that it's definitely coming, and Destiny players being who they are, there's already a lot of rumors bouncing around and careful analysis going down. For example, just that teaser image has prompted analysis suggesting that the Last City is in flames and will no longer exist in the sequel. That'd be a pretty significant change to the lore of that gameworld right away.

Rumors are also buzzing from datamining and retailer pre-orders; some European retailers are already offering pre-orders, including German retailer Instant Games taking pre-orders for the game's PC version. Is there going to be a PC version? We don't know yet, but it's definitely possible, and it's a rumor that's been around more or less since the sequel was first hinted at. So there's a city in flames and a new platform getting added to the mix; that should be enough to fuel speculation until another lone image gets revealed.

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World of Tanks players raised cash for kids during last year's War Child campaign

Wargaming announced today that World of Tanks players raised a huge sum of money for children in need last year. Last summer, the video game giant teamed up with War Child, a UK-based charity that focuses on children affected by local and global political conflict, to raise money for that cause.

"Late last year, Wargaming partnered with War Child for their Armistice Campaign. Players of World of Tanks were able to buy special emblems and packages to help raise money for children affected by conflict all over the world, with 100% of Wargaming’s share going directly to charity. Thanks to the community’s help and generosity, a donation of $84,800 went to War Child UK. Wargaming would like to thank all the players who donated to this great cause as every single penny raised was from the community."

Hear, hear and well done. Never let it be said that gamers have no heart!

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Mark Kern's Em-8ER on omniframe classes, THMPR animations

Mark Kern's crowdfunded MMO-shooter Em-8ER has a slew of new videos out this week featuring animations for the THMPR, finishing off the mech's "basic animation set."

"Next up is our test terrain and skybox, then importing the animations into Unreal and wiring everything together," Kern says. Over the weekend, he also posted a "draft spec" on the powered armorsuits in the game known as "omniframes." They're basically the game's equivalent of classes; Kern likens them to building a deck in a collectible card game. Warframe-ish, maybe?

Back in February, we covered how the name "Em-8ER" came to be, but that's probably not going to stop you from snarking, is it? Kern himself is well-known to the MMORPG genre thanks to his involvement with Firefall and the vanilla WoW community. He has previously discussed his plans for this shooter, including "serial Kickstarting" and a Firefall-esque foundation that doesn't "drift over to 'WoW with guns' again." Studio Crixa has raised $23,000 to date through crowdfunding and has since offered Firefall players credit toward the new game.

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Global Agenda may be reappearing in your Steam library

If you don't remember the whole story about Global Agenda, you could be forgiven for pushing it out of your mind; it's a bit of a sad one. The first game out of Hi-Rez Studios was not a massive success compared to the studio's later titles, and with more profitable releases from the studio, the game's support dropped and it was quietly removed from Steam. The game is still playable right now for people who download it directly, but it's not there for Steam players to find. Even players who already downloaded it found it gone... until this weekend.

We've had some reports (confirmed by our staff) that the game is indeed showing up in Steam libraries once again, although as of this writing it's not showing up on the main store page. (Searching for it uncovers a demo page that does not actually load.) This could all just be a matter of database maintenance for Steam, or it could be a subtle hint that something is on the horizon. There's nothing to do but speculate; the last update on the game's status was that the servers are going to be kept online for the forseeable future, but the studio does need to make plans for a shutdown and has no intention of selling the servers to another company or the fans.

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One Shots: I took a picture THIS big!

When you take the best screenshot in the world and want to impress your friends, do you find that you end up exaggerating a tiny bit? Perhaps with wide-flung arm motions and tall tales of shutter speed and multiple lenses?

Reader Matthew dishes up a boast for us from Elder Scrolls Online: "This screenshot amuses me for two reasons. Firstly, my friend Jacob and I met up yesterday for the first time in a week and discovered that we'd somehow dyed our gear almost the same color. Secondly, Jacob decided to mess around whilst I was taking a screenshot but his dancing animation plus my character's idle 'look around' animation has randomly made it look as though Jacob's Dragon Knight is telling my Sorceror how big the monster he just killed in the dungeon behind us was!"

This is when kobolds mysteriously transform into elder dragons through the power of storytelling. Onward and upward!

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The Stream Team: Celebrating Warframe's 4th birthday

Call her a party animal, but Massively OP's MJ can't resist celebrating a birthday, and Warframe is turning four! That's all the reason she needs to dive back in and check out more of that world. She's probably not nearly strong enough to seek out the new instruments that have just been introduced with the Octavia's Anthem update, but she can work at getting so. And that means she can look forward to making beautiful music in the future... or some kind of music anyway. Tune in live at 5:00 p.m. to wish Warframe a very happy birthday!

What: Warframe
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 24th, 2017

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Battlenet's slow retirement, Overwatch toxicity, and Blizzard's legal history with 'modding'

Last night's update saw the end of the Battle.net branding on the Blizzard launcher. You probably shed your tears back in September, when the company first announced it was retiring the Battle.net name and replacing it with terms like Blizzard Streaming and Blizzard Voice. Now the platform for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and the rest just says... Blizzard.

Speaking of Overwatch: Kotaku has a look at the shooter's new system for dealing with toxicity, currently getting a workout on the PTR. The current version has far more specific options for reporting other players, which may or may not lead to better reports and less abuse -- but Blizzard is making an effort.

And finally, Polygon has broken down Blizzard's history with modding and reverse engineering lawsuits, presumably for younger gamers or folks who aren't aware of World of Warcraft's diverse modding offerings. Anyone who's ever wondered why Blizzard cracks down on Bossland, who's wondered why the DMCA is so powerful, or who's curious about the legal precedent of the old-school bnetd case should take a look before armchair lawyering down in the comments.

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NCsoft rep says bringing City of Heroes toons to Master x Master was his 'passion project'

We've been speaking with NCsoft West off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters (to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.

Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."

"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."

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Warframe counts 30M registered players on its 4th birthday, basically adds bards

Happy fourth birthday, Warframe! It may not be a traditional MMORPG, but it's still one of those rare online MMOs that's actually doing better several years in than it was at launch: Digital Extremes is touting 30 million registered users. Actually almost 31 million! (That's up about five million just since the end of last year.)

To celebrate the occasion, the studio is rolling out the Octavia's Anthem update, complete with a new warframe, cosmetic outfit capture tools, new weapons, and the new music-themed questline:

"Octavia's Anthem has Warframe players journeying through an original, lore-driven quest in search of the musically enchanted Octavia Warframe. Along with Octavia comes the introduction of a simple-to-use musical instrument that enables players to compose original songs and synchronize them to their weapons to rhythmically dominate the enemy. Music isn't just a tool of destruction in this update -- players can create musical arrangements in cooperation with other Tenno and trade songs. For story buffs and lore fans, a newly written web comic, entitled What Remains, explores material well in advance of Octavia's Anthem."

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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