One of best parts of attending conventions is talking with the devs. And during my trip to Hi-Rez Expo 2017, I spoke with a number of them about a variety of topics, learning more about the games as well as witnessing their contagious exuberance for their projects first-hand. I spoke with lead designers AJ Walker, Rory Newbrough, and Scott Zier about SMITE's Season 4 changes, Paladins' Season 1, and SMITE Tactics' possible PvE mode respectively. President Stew Chisam also added a tantalizing tidbit, sharing news about the upcoming addition of more limited-time adventures in SMITE. Let's dive in!
If you enjoyed the variety of the one-off arenas Xing Tian's Mountain and Fafnir's Winter Wonderland as I did, this next announcement should make you happy: New adventures will be a regular occurrence! Did you catch when devs mentioned them in previous notes? If not, you are in good company; Chisam noted that these new events were pretty much a hidden line announcement. But he elaborated on the topic for us.
Past, present, and future. While the totality of a game studio encompasses all three aspects, we often focus on only one or two at a time. Over the last week, we heard a great deal about Hi-Rez Studios' present during Hi-Rez Expo 2017, from the tournaments (congrats to all the winners!) to what's immediately in the works for its roster of games. But there are still the two other sides to the studio to consider. And these are the sides I explored in interviews with President Stew Chisam and VP Brian Greyson. Specifically I wanted to learn if the company had plans to connect its past with its future in regards to Global Agenda. I was also curious as to what other directions the SMITE franchise might take.
Join me as we delve into the past and the future of Hi-Rez Studios, the possibility of a Global Agenda 2, and the expansion of the SMITE universe.
Are you confused by the Paladins Founder's Packs for sale right now? "No," you answer, "they're quite straightforward; you've got the entry-level tier available, then the middle tier, and the most expensive one with the largest amount of gewgaws. It's quite simple." However, in this hypothetical scenario you never get to finish that explanation, because midway through your "no" the person who asked you cuts you off by revealing that the people at Hi-Rez Studios are simplifying the packs down to just one option instead of three confusing options.
At this point, you would likely begin protesting that "three tiers" isn't confusing, but you've also probably sussed out that your participation in this conversation is optional.
The new Founder's Pack will have a $19.99 price tag and is within spitting distance of the current $20 Founder's Pack in terms of contents, so you can also look at this change as being more about removing the higher tiers. The other packs are still available until January 12th, however, with all three types on sale until January 9th (which would be today). So if you want to get more of the goodies available through a higher-tier pack, act now.
The first Paladins e-sports event will kick off today at 12:00 p.m. EST, with the first Paladins Invitational pitting players against one another in a specific tournament bracket. But competition isn't stopping there; Hi-Rez Studios will announce today that Season 1 of competitive play will start after the tournament, even though the game is still in beta. That will mean new heroes and content being introduced along the way, starting with a new fairytale-themed castle being added to the game to coincide with the season start.
Players can also look forward to more customizable skins, starting with Genie Ying and Army Man Viktor; both skins have one body skin and multiple different head accessories and weapons to allow for a custom arrangement. There's also a set of new skins and sprays available for players who aren't able to attend the Hi-Rez Expo personally, and you can link your Twitch account to your Hi-Rez account for a chance at more drops. Check out some screenshots of the new skins and map just below, along with a new trailer for Paladins.
(which I fully plan to keep thinking of as SMITECON in my head) officially kicks off tomorrow morning at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Can't make it to Atlanta? No big thing; the studio's streaming on Twitch
for all four days of the event, covering everything from SMITE
game reveals to e-sports. Twitch Prime subbers will even pick up a special Janus JT-6000
"This year’s Hi-Rez Expo rings in the new year with more competitive esports than any previous Hi-Rez event. Twenty-two teams from across the world converge in Atlanta to determine the SMITE PC World Champion, the SMITE Console World Champion and the Paladins $150,000 HRX Invitational winner."
Massively OP's MJ Guthrie will be on the ground from the event, so expect more coverage through the weekend. In the meantime, check out the videos and teasers!
One of my favorite things to do every year is break down the top articles on the site for our readers. You might think you already know what the biggest stories are because the comment count ran wild or it was super controversial -- or even because you saw our biggest stories award or read our biggest stories listicle. But in reality, the single posts that actually accrue the most hits aren't necessarily the ones you'd think, and they're not even entirely predictable to us. A well-timed link from a major website -- Reddit, Fark, or a game dev -- can elevate an entire month. (That's why we're so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks!)
A few caveats before we dive in: I've eliminated a couple of posts from 2015 that still continue to do well in 2016 (that's no fun). I've also eliminated contests (Paladins, Black Desert, SMITE, and TERA had the most popular giveaways this year, but again, they're sort of cheating since they aren't real content -- they're just free stuff). And do remember that the list favors posts made early in the year, so you'll seldom see big articles from December on a list like this (they haven't had as much time to circulate).
It's time to get all snuggly in front of a crackling fire, roast up some chestnuts, down a gallon of hot chocolate, and log into your favorite online RPGs for seasonal festivities! Or you could "bah humbug!" your way through the season and ignore all of the silly, free, and rewarding events if you so desire. We're not here to tell you what to do, after all!
With extra time off of work and school, many gamers have the opportunity to take advantage of all of the winter holiday events that are running across MMORPGs, MOBAs, and other online games. Feeling at a loss about where to start? Board the Massively OP sleigh and join us as we take you on a tour of all of the Christmas events going on right now!
Well, that's it; Neverwinter
is officially a game of lies now. Why? Because if the game is called "Neverwinter
" with an eponymous city as the central location, how can it have a Winter Festival
? Lies and conspiracies, that's the only explanation. You should probably stand in the middle of the city and complain.
Of course, the alternative is celebrating the holidays by actually taking part in the Winter Festival, which features a sled race, ice fishing, and some monsters to beat back. You can also pick up some item packs in the in-game store, and naturally the Winter Festival has prizes of its own. But it seems like a much better use of your time to protest the presence of winter and poor urban nomenclature. The event kicks off today and lasts through January 5th, so you'll have plenty of time.
There's also a small patch out that makes some minor balance tweaks and offers Oathbound Paladins a free respec token, but that's impossible to frame as part of an elaborate conspiracy theory. Unless, of course, that's what they want you to think.
For all of its major system overhauls, Paladins appears to be doing something right. A new video on stats from the game's open beta notes that there are over five million players from 230 different countries enjoying the game, even though the game is still technically in open beta testing. There are plenty of other fun stats about the testing, collected below in video format rather than the usual infographic.
If you're one of the five million players or just an onlooking well-wisher, you may want to keep your eyes on the Paladins Invitational Tournament starting in a little under a month. Players will compete for a prize of $150,000 starting on January 5th, with all of the competition getting streamed on Twitch as eight teams face off to become the best invited players in the world. And if you're not into the competitive scene but just like playing... well, with five million people, you'll probably be able to find a match or two.
As we do every year, today we're going to squint back a year, into the depths of a Massively Overthinking from the tail end of 2015 when we issued our predictions for 2016. Sure, sure, it's a little unfair since we usually egg each other on to make wild and bold assertions for the fun of it -- plus that makes the hits all the sweeter -- but all the same: Did we nail it or fail it?
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!
This week Hearthstone released its Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion, making all of us wish that World of Warcraft had a town like this. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from Vainglory, Ingress, Final Fantasy XI, and more, all waiting for you after the break!
Getcher credit cards ready, folks. It's time.
(New additions are at the bottom!)
Hi-Rez MOBA Paladins has been patched up this week with a "visual upgrade" for Serpent Beach, a new skin for Ruckus, improvements to projectile attacks, UI tweaks, and better loot highlighting, all out in update 38 for the open beta game. Fortunately -- or unfortunately, depending on which characters you favor -- it's also coming with a balancing patch that buffs and nerfs several toons, including
- Barik, who's being nerfed for "over performing" and being "too self-sufficient";
- Grover, who's being buffed because his damage was too weak;
- and Viktor, who earns his nerf by being too much of a badass at range.
Check out the patch notes below!