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One of the most important game studios in the world and purveyor of League of Legends.

EA claims Star Wars Battlefront II’s business model aims to ‘provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment’

Some awards, you do not want to win. The Darwin award, for example. Or “worst business model of the year.” Or “most downvoted comment of all time on Reddit because you have the worst business model of the year,” which EA managed to score this past weekend.

In response to players continuing to riot over Star Wars Battlefront II’s obnoxious business model – specifically, the part where people are upset that key characters are locked behind an additional paywall in a game they already paid $80 for – EA trotted out the old “sense of pride and accomplishment” line. Seriously. They said that. Out loud.

“The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes. As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay. We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets. Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.”

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Perfect Ten: A list of all the MMORPGs I supposedly hate

Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.

Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.

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Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan on WoW Classic and the Overwatch toxicity ‘strike team’

Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan gave an interview on Reddit this week that provides an interesting perspective from an original World of Warcraft developer who defected to Overwatch.

“I think classic is a great idea,” he says. “I have great nostalgia for what the game was. I think people need to be careful about what they think the magic was versus what it actually was. I don’t think what made the classic servers great was the shitty quests. I’m allowed to say that because I wrote all of them.”

Indeed, he stresses the importance of community and lauds the absence of the dungeon finder, but he also points out that some of vanilla’s problems: the lack of server transfers, the lack of well-distributed auction halls, and the smaller servers.

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s CCP Games is gambling with the livelihoods of employees

Last week we broke the story that EVE Online developer CCP Games is backing out of the virtual reality games market, closing its Altanta office and selling its VR-focused Newcastle studio. The long-held Atlanta office was acquired in the merger with White Wolf in 2006 and has been hit with several rounds of layoffs over the years, with a major hit in 2011 after the Monoclegate disaster and another 2014 when the World of Darkness MMO was cancelled. The Newcastle studio was the development house responsible for CCP’s VR dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie, and both Valkyrie and CCP’s new VR game Sparc will now be maintained by the London office.

Around 100 staff were laid off in the restructuring, roughly 30 of whom worked in CCP’s headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland. Though we were informed at the time that these changes would not impact the development of EVE Online, it since became apparent that more than a few non-development staff were cut. In addition to the EVE PR staff and others that were stationed in Atlanta, all but two members of the EVE community team in Reykjavik have also been let go. There are reports that several GMs and the localisation manager for EVE have departed too, and the mood on twitter from staff in Reykjavik recently is best described as sombre and a little shaken.

In this extra edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into CCP Games’s history of taking risks with staff’s jobs, look at some of those affected by the layoffs, and ask whether there is more fallout to come.

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Game devs react angrily to ESA’s support of government tax proposal

Last week, the Entertainment Software Association, the video game trade association you probably know best from its stewardship of E3, released a contentious statement praising the tax reform proposal currently before congress, claiming the bill will “energize tech sector innovation and economic opportunity. For the $30.4 billion US video game industry, which employs more than 220,000 people all across the United States, the pro-growth policies introduced will incentivize greater US investment and more high-quality American jobs.”

And while the large gaming publishers repped by the ESA might be comfy with that position, it didn’t go over well with actual game developers, including some MMO devs, who reacted loudly on twitter (twice) in rejecting the ESA’s position as being representative of or beneficial to workers.

“20 year game industry veteran here,” Riot’s Greg Street wrote (you’ll remember him from his tenure at Blizzard). “You don’t represent my views. Like at all.”

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League of Legends encourages new players to embrace being noobs

Today marks the eighth year of League of Legends on the market, and it’s a legacy of players being told to git gud. Thus, it seems only appropriate that the game has a new commercial out, and that commercial is all about telling new players to… embrace being new, awful, and garbage at playing the game.

Yeah, that might seem like a bit of a swerve, but it’s a cute little commercial about how being bad at something new is a necessary first step that everyone goes through. Instead of being overwhelmed because you’re not good, you can enjoy the first moments of being bad and learning more about the game with each progressive moment. It’s a nice dose of positive vibes for the game, and you can check it out just below the cut, even if you’re still not going to play the game that produced the ad.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds passes up League of Legends in Korean PC bangs

If you are not at least keeping an eye on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and how it’s currently disrupting the entire online gaming market, you probably should be. Or at least let us do it for you. Today’s addition to the mounting pile of evidence that this may be slightly more than just a fall fling is the fact that it’s now surpassed both League of Legends and Overwatch, according to Gametrics, a Korean tracking service.

VG points out that Overwatch also passed up League of Legends last year before falling back down, so we’ll see if PUBG’s arc follows that same path, particularly given that the game won’t see any more patches until its formal launch.

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The Daily Grind: Is PUBG finally the ‘WoW killer killer’ we’ve been waiting for?

Say the words “WoW killer” to a bunch of MMORPG players in 2017 and you’re bound to get eyerolls, for good reason: Even though we’ve been watching over the last decade as game after game chased the title, most folks don’t really believe that any MMORPG will ever truly “kill” World of Warcraft except possibly WoW itself, however slowly. Globally oriented, e-sports-centric games like MOBAs and shooters have long since surpassed the MMORPG market anyway, beating them at their own community game.

What I didn’t really expect to ever see was a game that killed the “WoW killers,” and that’s exactly what PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is doing. Oh, League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS:GO aren’t dead, and they’re not going to roll over and give up so easily, not when they’re still making money hand-over-fist (just a little bit less than before). But I have to admit that I didn’t see this coming. Battle royale is an old game type, and PUBG isn’t even the first to try to revivify it. I never expected this kind of dramatic sea change in online gaming. We’re watching a huge shift happening right before our eyes, and bizarrely enough, Daybreak is partly responsible.

Is PUBG a “WoW killer killer”? Is PUBG really worthy of all the fuss, or are people just sick of the old-school MOBA and shooter lineup?

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SuperData: ‘The esports market has finally hit the mainstream’

In promotional materials associated with its new paid “Esports Scoreboard,” gaming anaylsis firm SuperData – known best to our audience for its monthly revenue charts – has declared that “the esports market has finally hit the mainstream.” Though the associated marketing report is paywalled, some of the public statistics in the reveal are actually of interest.

For example, the company runs down the top 10 e-sports games by viewership, with League of Legends coming in at the top as of August. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which recently blasted past 2M concurrent players and 15M sales, clocked in at #2, but expect that to rise in future editions as the game’s exploded even more since then. The firm argues that PUBG, unlike many of the MOBAs and shooters dominating the rankings, “stands out from competitors because players spend most of their time in stealth mode instead of intense shootuts, giving streamers time to interact with their viewers.”

Blizzard’s had a strong showing, too, with Hearthstone, Overwatch, and StarCraft II all in the top ten; SuperData notes that Overwatch in particular will benefit from the offseason of Dota 2 and LoL.

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Riot employee fired over toxic chat comments says he deserved it

Last week, news that Riot Games Lead Experience Designer Aaron “RiotSanjuro” Rutledge had insulted a banned League of Legends streamer in a public chat under the Riot tag, calling him a “humunculus” and remarking, “[H]e’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids.. then we’ll be gucci.” Following the circulation of the comments on Reddit, Rutledge initially appeared to deflect criticism and defend his comments before being digitally strung up by the community and dressed-down by Riot. And while the target of the slurs, so-toxic-he-was-already-banned Tyler1, dismissed the insult, saying he had no hard feelings, within a few days Rutledge announced he was no longer with the company.

That’s apparently because Riot, a massive online gaming studio ostensibly at the forefront of the push to reduce toxicity in gaming, fired him. In fact, in an interview with Rolling Stone’s Glixel blog, Rutledge says he respects Riot’s decision to boot him, saying he’d have done the same in the studio’s position and noting he’s since checked himself into rehab, as “too many whiskeys” contributed to his lapse in judgment (and to what he now refers to as his “spectacularly stupid” defense).

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League of Legends dev who insulted streamer is no longer with Riot Games

Two days ago, we reported that a League of Legends developer had landed himself in hot water after he went grossly overboard in insulting a banned troll and streamer while using a Riot tag in a public Discord channel. The dev, Aaron “Sanjuro” Rutledge, publicly suggested that it’d be “gucci” if the streamer would die from “a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids,” after likening him to a “humunculus,” incidentally causing a spike in searches for the word “humunculus.”

This triggered a quick and harsh response from both the community and Riot Games. Riot and Rutledge apologized for the comment and said he was taking some time away from the community, but now it looks as if they’ve severed ties completely.

Rutledge has since posted the following comment on his Facebook page: “Heads up to friends and family. I no longer work at Riot Games. Please call or txt me for more details.” There is no confirmation as to whether he was fired or voluntarily left the studio, as neither party has yet addressed the circumstances.

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Riot apologizes for League of Legends dev who joked about streamer’s hypothetical death

Over the weekend, a Riot Games developer made a Terrible Mistake: Lead Experience Designer Aaron “RiotSanjuro” Rutledge insulted a banned streamer in League of Legends’ public Discord using an official Riot account, saying the streamer “looks like a damn humunculus.”

“[H]e’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids.. then we’ll be gucci,” he wrote. That caused community uproar as some players interpreted that as not just an insult but a wish for the streamer’s death.

Sanjuro has since apologized for the comment.

“I displayed a gross error in judgement last night and whole-heartedly apologize for my comments. They were out of line, and not what any of you deserve to hear, especially from a Rioter. I’ll be taking time away from Reddit, discord and in game chat to reflect on how I communicate with players. Sorry again for the insults and the language.”

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The MOP Up: Monster Hunter World’s Tokyo reveals (September 24, 2017)

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 LawbreakersHyper UniversePlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pokemon GoWorld of TanksDC Universe OnlineCrossoutMonster Hunter WorldRunes of MagicAtlantica OnlineRevelation OnlineLeague of LegendsCrossfireHeroes of the Storm, OverwatchPath of Exile, and Dungeon Fighter Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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