On this week’s show, Justin sits down with Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif to talk about the game’s successful Kickstarter, handling a wild community, and the next steps for this up-and-coming sandbox MMORPG.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
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If you were hoping to begin your climbing career in Conan Exiles sooner rather than later, hold that thought. Funcom announced earlier today that the Unreal upgrade is effectively delaying the climbing patch a wee bit.
“We’re upgrading from Unreal 4.12 to 4.15. It’s a pretty big leap,” Funcom says. “What this means for the game is that the next update, which adds climbing to the game, won’t be released before the Unreal 4.15 version is ready to roll out. We were hoping to do this some weeks ago, but the process of moving to 4.15 has taken more time than initially anticipated and so you’ve had to wait a little longer for the climbing system to come out.”
The upside is that the new Unreal version is expected to provide “optimization of both server and client, which should result in a smoother experience for all players,” as well as blueprint nativization, which’ll help out modders in the long run.
Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.
“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.
There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.
Some people seem to want the apocalypse to happen because they have a really sweet underground bunker that is ready for a test drive. For the rest of us, the closest we might get is Escape From Tarkov’s new Hideouts, which will at least entertain us with the fantasy of our own shelter while the world crumbles around us.
The team announced its player housing system last week, saying, “Our characters need some place to settle down to gain strength, store supplies, stash discovered gear and weapons. In other words, regroup before setting out to achieve the main goal of the game.”
Players will move into an abandoned bomb shelter and work to rebuild it into a functional underground headquarters. There are 13 modules that can be constructed, from bathrooms to medical facilities, and each will bestow a special bonus on characters.
A follow-up Q&A post cleared up some of the finer details about this newly announced system.
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 we have stories and videos from Twilight Spirits, The Black Death, Conqueror’s Blade, Worlds Adrift, Ragnarok Journey, TERA, Wakfu, ARK, Guild Wars 2, and Destiny 2, all waiting for you after the break!
Today’s Black Desert update boasts two headlining features. The first is the kick-off of the Growth of a Kamasylve Tree event, which runs to June 21st and serves as a hearty tease for the Kamasylve content.
“Do your part to help grow a Kamasylvia Tree, complete a short series of daily quests to contribute to the growth!” says Kakao. “Each day participants may complete 2 of these quests to receive one ‘[Event] Gift of a Spirit.’ Begin the daily quest ‘[Event] Sacred Energy of Spirit’ by visiting the NPC Cartima in front of the inn in Heidel to collect the event item Bowl of Spirit. Once you have collected this, take Bowl of Spirit to the NPC Herawen and use 10 energy to gain Energy of Spirit.” Then trek back to the tree to finish up and do your part bumping your server trees through their five stages. For rewards, of course.
The second update improves the interiors of player houses in Calpheon; Kakao has added staircases, new floors, higher ceilings, and smarter door placement in a number of homes. The update also includes a smattering of class changes, pattern tweaks, and the server-swapping cooldown timer fix.
We’ve had many chats here on Massively OP concerning the best and most flexible player housing systems in MMORPGs — and lamented games that lack such systems entirely. But today I would like us to discuss housing systems that ultimately let us down.
Last weekend I jumped through a ton of hoops to finally get a small apartment in Final Fantasy XIV, only to find myself let down by the end product. The prerequisites were annoying, the cost prohibitive, and the decoration tools basic and weirdly difficult to use. Although perhaps the biggest let down in this category came with Guild Wars 2’s home instances, which during the lead-up to launch I had envisioned as being a much larger housing system. Now I know the truth, that the only customization I can put into these areas is a big hunk of candy corn to mine.
Which MMO housing system disappointed you? For a bonus topic, would you rather a lackluster housing system over no housing at all?
From Zulika Mi-Nam’s Adventures in Tale of Toast:
- Log into a game to do some play testing.
- “Hey, look at these cutsie graphics and those childlike animations!”
- Kill some level 1 and level 2 bunnies rabbits and some loot drops right on the ground from time to time.
- Find a treasure chest with a level 5 baddie guarding it.
- Make that baddie chase me around a tree and out run him back to that chest and loot it and get away: “Haha this is easy and I got a badass level 5 sword… gonna save that for later.”
- Go to town sell my trash loot and head back out.
- Take on a level 3 mushroom: “Pfft no problem.”
- Gonna go for this level 4 bat: “Woah this could go either way… depends on who lands the next hit….yah! Loot sound! Wait, he is bouncing away… I’m dead… then what was that loot?”
- Respawns and looks at inventory: “That… that was the sword I was saving, and it is just laying out there on the ground now.”
- Do the walk of shame to retrieve my sword and turn to shake my childlike fist at that bat. “I’ll be back! You… you fooled me with your cutsieness.”
Over the last couple of weeks, the monetization of unreleased games has become a pervasive and uncomfortable theme for the MMO genre. Just in brief:
The frustrating bit is I could go on, and this is just for games that aren’t even formally launched yet. So for this week’s Massively Overthinking, I want to take the temperature of alarm regarding these types of business models for unlaunched games. Is this all par for the course, in line with what we expect from the new MMO market? Have they gone too far yet? If not, what’s too far? How do we feel about this type of pre-launch monetization run amok?
After months of anticipation and previews, Mortal Online’s much-hyped modular housing update is finally here. Patch 1.86 adds the ability to create and decorate a customized house or fortress.
In addition to rooms and roofs that can be placed at will, the revised housing system allows for more than 400 pieces of decor and six new crafting skills related to building and furnishing. Of course, since this is a PvP game, you can always haul up a siege engine to take down a neighbor’s abode if he or she doesn’t meet the standards of the local home owner’s association.
Check out the modular housing patch notes and watch the trailer after the break!
I have been head-over-heels for Elder Scrolls Online since One Tamriel, and the Morrowind chapter has only added to my enthusiasm for the game. I understand that this game now feeds into the things that I really like in my MMOs, but it didn’t always. And I know that other people clearly have different tastes from mine
What I would like to attempt to do today is to face some of the desires and questions people have for MMOs, to examine some of the common pitfalls afflicting MMOs to see how ESO Morrowind fares and avoids those it does. I’ll attempt to imagine that I am looking for a new MMO and stumble upon Morrowind – what am I going to look for and what are some other people going to look for in the game?
The burgeoning SpatialOS empire has a new member state this week, as Italy-based Dynamight Studios announced that it is making Fractured using the world-building platform. Fractured is a relatively new project, having started back in January, and promises to combine action RPGs and sandbox MMOs to great effect.
Key features for the project include a skill- and reflex-based combat system, world colonization, player-driven economy, scads of crafting, housing, and characters who are effective from the get-go after choosing strengths and weaknesses. Equipment and levels are being severely downplayed in Fractured, with the emphasis on players expanding their knowledge and reputation during adventures.
Fractured’s knowledge system actually sounds pretty neat: “Say goodbye to the conventional RPG level and skill systems you’ve seen way too often and embrace the power and flexibility of the Knowledge System. It’s about time you get rewarded for your courage and cleverness, not for the hours you’ve spent hunting zombies or punching a training dummy!”
This time last year, I polled the Massively OP writers for their opinions on which MMOs had had the best year, or half year, up to that point in 2016 — which games were the most influential and important specifically in that time period. I was pretty surprised at the spread of answers too. Since we’re nearing the midpoint of 2017, I thought we should renew that question and see whether anything’s changed. So as last time, I’m asking everyone to pick three games that represent the MMORPG zeitgeist, using whatever combination of criteria they wish – revenue, playerbase size, hype, anticipation, update cycle, and so forth. What should we be paying attention to? Which games are a sign of the times? And just who is dominating now in 2017?