rumor

EA disables all Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransaction crud – for now

Whenever you see a studio call fans “passionate,” it’s almost always shorthand for “rioting with pitchforks and torches.” Guess what Star Wars Battlefront 2’s execs are calling its players this week?

DICE GM Oskar Garbrielson apologized to the game’s “passionate” community about the missteps that EA made in locking its characters behind a prohibitive grind and aggressively pushing microtransactions. He said that the team is disabling all in-game purchases with crystals, at least until the company can figure out a better way to implement them:

“But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right. We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.”

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PWE confirms Motiga layoffs and Runic Games closure, but MOBA Gigantic will stay up

Last night, we reported on multiple employees and former employees’ allusions to the closure of Motiga Games, the studio behind MOBA Gigantic. “Today marks the end of Motiga and my time with an absolutely amazing team,” wrote former audio lead Dan Crislip. “If anyone is hiring, we’re all looking!”

Perfect World has now responded to Massively OP with a statement on what’s going on – in fact, it’s not just Motiga affected, as apparently Runic Games is also shutting down. PWE is distancing itself from the decisions.

“Following the news that Motiga has reduced the staff of its studio, Perfect World Entertainment can confirm that as the publisher of Gigantic, the game will continue to be available on our platforms. A core team of developers remains at Motiga, who will work with us to support the game and its players, including moving full steam ahead with the upcoming November update and future content. We cannot thank everyone enough for their contributions in making Gigantic the outstanding experience it is today.”

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Rumor: Motiga, the studio behind Gigantic, is closing down

Multiple employees and former employees are tweeting tonight alluding to the closure of Motiga Games, the studio behind MOBA Gigantic.

“Today marks the end of Motiga and my time with an absolutely amazing team,” wrote now former audio lead Dan Crislip. “If anyone is hiring, we’re all looking!”

It is not clear yet what the future of the game will be and how and whether Perfect World Entertainment, which added the studio and game to its umbrella last year following multiple rounds of layoffs and financial difficulties at Motiga, will continue Gigantic’s development. As of the time of this post tonight, no official statement from either company has been issued.

We have reached out to PWE for a statement and will report back when we have it (we doubt we’ll get it before sun-up on the west coast tomorrow).

Our hearts go out to the entire team.

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Amazon confirms that Breakaway is on hiatus

Is Breakaway dead? We don’t know for sure, but the rumors started flying yesterday, and the latest official word certainly reads like a death certificate. In the announcement, Amazon has announced that Breakaway is going on hiatus while the core gameplay experience gets retooled, with no actual timeframe for when this will take place. It’s possible that it’s temporary, but it’s also possible that this will result in the game quietly slipping from memory.

There’s no word about how this will affect any other titles in development or even the core team behind the game (or Amazon’s other games), although the prospect of wildly retooling what was originally meant to be the first launch title has to sting a bit. We’ll keep our ears to the ground for more information, but don’t expect more news to be forthcoming quickly.

Source: Official site; thanks to Sray for the tip!

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World of Warcraft has a Tortollan pet in its data files

Because World of Warcraft and Hearthstone ostensibly take place in the same world, the latter frequently gets to fill out the lore of the former. In Hearthstone, for example, you get extrapolations on ideas like Gadgetzan being an actual city, or you get the Tortollan being added to the world’s lore. They’re a diminutive race of turtle-people not seen in the MMO… at least, not seen there before now, judging by the Tortollan pet that’s been datamined in the game.

Obviously, there’s no word about how you’ll get this pet, nor are there even screenshots of what it will look like. It could be a cross-promotion between the games (which seems likely as the model is encrypted), or it could be a major reward from the next expansion. But it’s in the game’s files, meaning that at least some work has been done on it. Good news for everyone whose pet collection doesn’t include enough turtles at this point.

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H1Z1 has defeated its ‘King of the Kill’ branding in a last-man-standing battle royale

Looks like at least some of the rumors last week have proven true, as Daybreak is indeed removing the “King of the Kill” branding from H1Z1, meaning the battle royale half of the zombie survival sandbox is now getting the unified game’s original name free and clear.

You’ll recall that in 2016, Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive; this past summer, the company dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game, and then it announced a pro league for H1Z1 just last week.

“Throughout development we’ve continued to define the vision for H1Z1, which is competitive at its core with fast-paced and action-packed combat,” Daybreak explains. “Over the past year, the game has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of both player base and development, so we thought it was time to evolve the game’s look to something that better represented the spirit of H1Z1 and the level of quality we aspire to. H1Z1 is also the name that our players connect with most, so it was just natural evolution for us to transition back. We’re also working to ensure that H1Z1 can be enjoyed by players around the world, and having the word ‘Kill’ in the name of the game can be limiting with some global audiences.”

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Rumor: H1Z1 is about to drop King of the Kill branding (and maybe it’s really launching)

Remember in 2016 when Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive?

Remember back in August when Daybreak dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game?

And remember earlier this week when Daybreak announced a pro league for H1Z1 – without using the words King of the Kill?

Put that all together and you may be figuring that King of the Kill is about to get its own rebrand. Indeed, while it hasn’t been officially announced or confirmed, it seems backed up by a video pulled of a new splash screen on King of the Kill’s test server, which shows just the term H1Z1 by itself. Redditors are further speculating the game will finally go free-to-play, which was SOE’s original plan, though that was chucked overboard pretty early on.

Hey, while we’re making crazy predictions, maybe we can predict that the game will finally launch. Because it still hasn’t. That was slated for a year ago, but it (and its console port) was indefinitely delayed.

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Rumor: Is En Masse publishing Closers Online in the west? [Update: Likely!]

We’ve been keeping half an eye on Closers Online since at least 2015, but with no clear sign of westward movement, that half eye was all we spared. But today, there might just be hope. MOP reader Ephekt has pointed us to a blooper in a recent Kritika Online stream that appears to show Closers Online in the community manager’s En Masse launcher, suggesting that the company may indeed have unannounced plans to port Naddic’s action-combat “MORPG” across the pond.

We’ve reached out to En Masse for a statement and will report back when we have it. [Update – it’s down below!]

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Neowiz confirms axing Bless Online western publisher Aeria Games

Rumors that suggested Aeria Games has been dismissed as the western Bless Online publisher appear to have been confirmed today.

Korean gaming site Inven is reporting that Neowiz, the Korean-born developer and publisher of the MMO, has “canceled the service contract agreement between the two companies […] smoothly after consulation,” meaning that Gamigo and Aeria will no longer be publishing the game in the west.

We’ve seen a few headlines this morning suggesting that Bless’ western service has been entirely canceled, but we cannot confirm that. Neowiz says it will be focusing on the Japanese service “for now,” but does not say whether it has plans to find a new western publisher.

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Rumor: Aeria Games no longer publishing Bless Online for western audiences

Rumors are flying this morning that Aeria Games has been dismissed as the western Bless Online publisher. MMORPG.com reports that it received “fairly substantial information” from an anonymous source to that effect. “Gamigo representatives were in Korea last week where the agreement was cancelled due to quality confirmed,” writes the blog. “This has also apparently been confirmed via internal communication with employees coming from the Vice President of Product Sascha Zehe.”

This is not the first time we’ve encountered rumors about the state of Bless’ import. Back in December, the game’s official teaser site vanished abruptly, causing a panic that the game had been canceled. Aeria, however, said it was just a data center migration. Still, we haven’t seen much public progress on the game since last autumn’s announcement that Aeria was completing gutting Bless’ combat system for a do-over. It was intended to release here this year, but we’ve seen far more movement from the Russian and Japanese branches.

We’ve reached out to Aeria and Gamigo for a statement and will update when we know more.

Source: MMORPG.com

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The Daily Grind: Do you seek out MMORPG leaks?

Over the past couple of months, the MMORPG community has worked its way through massive leaks of top-secret info: first for Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind, then for The Secret World’s morph into Secret World Legends, and most recently for Guild Wars 2’s upcoming expansion. The latter two events in particular provoked long discussions among our staff and commenters about when and whether to cover leaks that are already in the wild and how to approach news we’ve never agreed to withhold. And with The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, at least, the studios’ excessive secrecy and elitist invitation-only testing helped propel a masochistic community desire to see leaks manifest, leading to a perfect storm.

And now it’s ruined for everybody… or at least for people who couldn’t resist clicking past the spoiler warnings. I’m bummed that we’re going to miss out on the fun of unwrapping all those presents one at a time, in Guild Wars 2’s case anyway – it’s more fun and better hits to get to roll out a little at a time. But I’m also hopeful the studios might take alpha tester NDA betrayal as a sign to be more communicative and transparent too and not keep everyone in the dark as long as has gone on here. (Or maybe even just stick to paid testers from the start and give no regular player any temptations.)

How do you feel about MMORPG leaks personally — do you seek them out and click on them, or do you stay away?

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BioWare delays SWTOR 5.2 for a week, might be working on KOTOR 3 and a ‘semi-MMO’

Let’s rip off this band-aid quickly: There will be no SWTOR Update 5.2 today. BioWare announced on the forums that it is delaying the patch, which contains the MMO’s first new raid in two years, to next week. In the meantime, SWTOR will be extending its XP/CXP event through the 18th as compensation.

The studio said that the delay was due to a quality issue with the update: “At this point in time, we are not satisfied with the quality of the Iokath update. For that reason, we are delaying the release of 5.2 by one week, to release on April 18th. This allows the team more time to make improvements to address some of the issues still pending.”

And as one Old Republic game sees a delay, another might be forthcoming. Scuttlebutt this week is that BioWare Edmonton is working on a Knights of the Old Republic game. The rumor’s source said that it is unclear whether this is a remake of the original, a revival of the franchise, or something else entirely, but that BioWare is currently working on Star Wars games exclusively.

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