Last week, we reported on a situation brewing on the EVE Online subreddit, where player after player spoke out about the game’s botting problem, exacerbated by a recent post about a specific botter corp leaving expensive capital ships where other players could easily take them out.
Seeking a statement on the botting situation, we reached out to CCP, whose CCP Falcon posted a response to our article on Reddit.
“[Botting is] to the detriment of the game and it needs to be stamped out,” he says. “It’s garbage behavior, it’s against the rules, and it’s something that has a magnified effect in EVE because of the single shard nature of the game, the economy, and the fact that everything on the market is player built or sourced.” Specifically, he dismissed the idea that CCP generates revenue from botters. That said, he also believes CCP has more work to do on the problem.
Is there a quota for how many sci-fi spaceship MMOs with playerbases angry over exploits we can cover in a week? Because if so, Elite Dangerous already met it. If not, EVE Online requests a moment of your time.
The EVE subreddit is smoldering with post after post on what players characterize as a serious botting problem, exacerbated by a recent post in which a player claims that in a brief span of time, his group was able to easily take out eight Nyx capital ships allegedly belonging to a single corporation well-known among gamers for botting.
One redditor summed up the community dismay that cheaters and cheater money rules the game, quoting another’s estimate that bots pull in a tremendous amount of ISK (in-game currency) monthly and lamenting the perception that CCP lets the botting go on (or even encourages it).
“I feel completely worthless as a customer,” Loroseco writes. “I feel like my effort over the years has been for absolutely nothing. I feel that I’ve been cheated out of making a fortune because I felt compelled to obey the ToS that I agreed to when I started playing.”
A comment on Reddit about the current size and viability of Kritika Online got me thinking about MMO playerbases in general lately. We all know that there’s a stigma attached to little games; the big games with big servers and millions of players feel safer, and nowadays people just assume a small MMO has one foot in the grave. But it isn’t always true. We could also rattle off some smaller MMOs that seem to be moving along just fine, with bills paid. Sure, they’d like to be bigger, but they’re holding steady and know how to work the playerbase they do have rather than constantly alienate their current customers in search of new customers. And some MMO gamers actually prefer those sorts of titles. After all, if the game has just a few thousand people, it’s much easier to get to know a large slice of them, plus have your voice heard by the developers and actually influence the gameworld.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to reflect on the smallest MMOs they have played, and then consider how big an MMO has to be in terms of playerbase that they’d consider playing it now. What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play, and why?
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.
Most online games have rules governing running from a fight, abandoning a team, or exiting the game to avoid gameplay, be they MMORPGs or shooters or MOBAs. You’ll get smacked with some sort of penalty or timeout, at minimum – if you didn’t, why, you’d just quit out every time you were losing a fight.
In Elite Dangerous, that practice is called combat logging, particularly when you’re using dodgy means to achieve it, and it’s been a subject of contention in the game since at least 2016, when we first covered it. Back then, players were accusing Frontier of not doing enough to prevent and punish what both saw as an exploit of the game’s mechanics.
Turns out that accusation is alive and well in 2018. Players have posted on Reddit and the official forums a summary of what they say is their latest investigation into Frontier’s investigation. This time around, they used an alt to combat log in the middle of fights with multiple other players, complete with video and in-game reporting, over a span of five months. According to the players, Frontier didn’t punish the account for any of the incidents.
You know the lockbox thing is reaching saturation when there are so many things to cover we have to resort to a roundup. Nevertheless, for those of you who want to stay on top of developments and arguments, here we go.
Polygon has an explainer piece up on Destiny 2’s Eververse fallout and why everyone is still rioting over the game’s monetization. Of note for this discussion is the publication’s note that if Destiny 2 is hell-bent on having lootboxes, it ought to adopt Overwatch’s lootboxes, as they’re relatively tame and haven’t produced a Reddit in full meltdown.
Gamasutra has a roundup of MMO developer quotes from studios that believe they’re doing lockboxes “elegantly,” including Trion (for Defiance), PWE (for Star Trek Online), Wargaming (for World of Warships). In this particularly case, that means either being easily accessible through in-game play (not just in the cash shop), making lockbox drops tradeable to other players, creating systems of accruing lockbox rewards, or offering a choice of lootbox type.
A short, anonymous video posted to the New World subreddit has the community buzzing that this might be an authentic leak from the secretive massively multiplayer game that Amazon has been developing for the last few years now.
It appears to be part of a marketing trailer that lays out how players will interact with each other in small- and large-scale activities. We also get glimpses of some of the graphics, including players running around with muskets and armor, a town fort, and interactive maps.
The full narration of the video is as follows: “Group up in parties large or small for coordination. Share chat, maps, status awareness, buffs, and experience. Working together has never been so easy. Guilds and alliances enable the organization of hundreds of players, with their own tasks and roles in large-scale efforts toward a massive martial and economic power.”
How do you feel about grinding in MMOs? What about farming? These questions can elicit a wide variety of answers, from shrieks of dismay to enthusiastic head nods. Depending on the situation, grinding and farming can be something to be enjoyed, to be endured, or to be avoided at all cost.
The Game Freak Show says that he has a love/hate affair with grinding and farming, and it presents all sorts of muddled emotions, especially when gated mechanics are thrown into the mix: “While I have forgiven the grind in many RPGs for sucking away my time, this disturbing trend of games that do not have a harsh grind because they’re flawed or made for a different audience, but to force people to drop more cash on the table is something I can’t.”
Continue on for a look at Kritika Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online’s Ravenloft, the best solo MMOs, and more!
Curious about the next DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online
? We can hardly blame you; it brings with it much-desired features like home storage, outfit changes, and all of the content you’d expect from a DLC about diving into tons of content related to dragon bones. It even got a full preview stream, but if you missed the stream when it was live, you can check it all out in the video just below.
As usual, the diligent folks of Reddit compiled a few bits of relevant summarizing information during and after the stream. Of note: Housing storage furnishings cannot be crafted but must be purchased through crowns, mediators, or Tel Var merchants, but can also be obtained through the new Level Up Advisor once you reach level 18. Awards of this sort are also account-wide rather than character-based, so your second character won’t benefit from the same advantages. Check out the full stream below to see the content in action.
If player dataminers are right, Destiny 2 is in trouble, and I’m not talking about the ongoing Eververse rioting.
Destiny 2 player and Redditor stevetheimpact collected data from roughly a tenth the playerbase between launch and the end of 2017 by scraping Bungie’s API for unique members and their last date played.
“Total player count dropped from 1,307,165 to 321,843 from launch to the end of the year, which is a drop of 75.37%,” he posted last night. “PS4 player count dropped from 712,431 to 158,523, which is a drop of 77.74%. XBox player count dropped from 594,987 to 127,428, which is a drop of 78.58%. PC player count dropped from 194,607 to 35,892, which is a drop of 81.55%.”
stevetheimpact does admit that his data represent only a sample of the total player population and aren’t 100% accurate. The raw data have been made available for anyone who wants to parse them.
It’s long been known that the next Destiny 2
DLC will be out next year, with most players figuring on early in the year, but beyond that there has mostly been rumors and speculation. Now… there’s more than that. A page for the next DLC showed up on the Japanese and American PSN stores and was swiftly taken down, but as you no doubt surmised, fans took all of the necessary screenshots and have already spread the information
. Short version? It’s going to be called Gods of Mars
, and it’s sending you to… some planet.
Fine, it’s Mars, yes. Specifically, it’s the Frigid Vale of Mars, where players will find new quests, new landscapes, and perhaps most importantly new enemies to shoot. (And hopefully fewer bits of content retroactively locked behind the expansion.) You can check out the screenshot of the store page below, although you should be warned that any of these informational tidbits could be subject to change before its actual release date in March.
One of my favorite things to do every year is drill down the top articles on the site for our readers. I don’t mean the most controversial, the most fun, the most important, or the most commented-on; I mean the single articles that actually brought in the most hits. And what I find most interesting is that most “popular” aren’t always the ones we expect! As we’ve noted before, 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!)
Just remember that the list favors posts made early in the year (and in some cases, evergreen articles from earlier years) as later pieces haven’t had as much time to percolate, so when you do see big articles from December on a list like this, that means a popular post indeed!
Now here is the kind of emergent gameplay that could only be found in an MMO.
Elite: Dangerous pilot Persera went on an expedition beyond the bounds of galactic space to set the record as the furthest a player has ever traveled from the solar system. After careful preparations and several attempts, Persera eventually passed this milestone around December 19th. He was still crawling forward at 65,659 light years from Sol when he ran out of fuel and had nothing to make the jump home.
That’s when Persera put out a call to the “Fuel Rats” — a search-and-rescue community organization that makes it their mission to deliver fuel to stranded pilots. The Rats didn’t hesitate at the challenge, but sent a dedicated player to reach Persera. The stranded pilot is mostly staying in stasis, coming out only to turn on his beacon if the rescue ships show up.
What’s truly amazing is that the final leg of this rescue will require a 48-hour supercruise by the Fuel Rats. If all goes well, the rescuer will catch up with Persera this weekend, transfer fuel, and then all jump out to safety. You can watch the ongoing Twitch stream of the rescue attempt after the break.
Update: There are actually three Fuel Rat pilots (ABish, TheUnknown1 and Highwaywarrior) participating in the refueling efforts. Apologies for the mistake.