What do you do when a game you've always intended to check out has an anniversary? Massively OP's MJ dives in to play -- in front of an audience! RuneScape turns 13 years old today (counting from its official launch renamed RuneScape 2, not the beta release on January 4th, 2001 ), and MJ wants to help celebrate the occasion. She's heading in as a brand-new newbie to experience what many others have spent years enjoying. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to help her navigate this new landscape.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 29th, 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!
This week we have stories and videos from Fortnite, War Thunder, Armored Warfare, Neverwinter, Mabinogi Duel, Pokemon Go, Prodigy, Guild Wars 2, Hellion, Ingress, Old School RuneScape, WildStar, Dota 2, and Final Fantasy XIV, all waiting for you after the break!
One of RuneScape's better and more popular experiments is celebrating its fourth birthday today. Old School RuneScape, the 2007-era version of the game that started up four years ago to cater to those looking for a more classic experience, has arguably become as popular if not more so than the standard RuneScape client.
To mark this occasion, Jagex is throwing an in-game bash courtesy of Party Pete. Players who participate can snag themselves a Gnome child's hat, a war ship, and a cow outfit. The studio also opened up a dozen new worlds to accommodate the growing demand for Old School RuneScape.
"This year is a double anniversary for Old School RuneScape; not only does the game celebrate its fourth birthday, but it's also the 10th anniversary of the 'snapshot' server we used to bring Old School to life," said Producer Mathew Kemp.
We were remarking in the Massively OP office the other day how weird it was that Club Penguin's shutdown was getting mainstream news attention in a way that many more important and long-running titles (Asheron's Call anyone?) were not. One reason why this might be, apart from its Disney connection, is that for some players, Club Penguin was their introduction to online worlds and they still retain a strong emotional connection because we tend to fondly remember our first everythings. Never underestimate nostalgia!
MMORPGs as we know them today weren't really around when I was growing up, but I have no doubt that many of our readers cut their teeth on titles at a much younger age. How young were you when you played your first MMO? Was it a kiddie title like Wizard101 or an all-ages pick like World of Warcraft? Were you one of those who picked up RuneScape because it was free and you didn't have access to your parents' credit cards?
Consider this your triple dose of MMO industry news for the day so that you can be the talk of the water cooler tomorrow.
Activision Blizzard might be getting into the toy market, as it has opened up a new consumer products division and hired a former Disney and Mattel exec to run it. What will they be selling? It's not clear yet, but they use PR words like "touchpoints," so chew on that for a bit.
Meanwhile, ZeniMax announced that it has acquired Escalation Studios, which has specialized in mobile, console, and VR games. Escalation might have been brought in to help with the Fallout VR project underway at Bethesda.
Finally, Jagex put out a press release stating that it has launched an audio RuneScape experience to the Amazon Echo. Fans can download the app RuneScape Quests: One Piercing Note to play this interactive murdery mystery.
RuneScape developer and publisher Jagex has a new bossman today: The company announced that former VP Phil Mansell will take over for Rod Cousens as COO and acting CEO. Cousens had been CEO for two years, while Mansell has been with the company for five.
In 2016, the UK-based Jagex announce its sale to China's Shandong Hongda, a company then known chiefly for its mining operations, then its creation of a new company on the Chinese market, Zhongji Holding, which is focused on RuneScape.
2001's RuneScape was nominated for our Most Underrated award last year and made it into our top 10 list of healthiest MMOs, as it saw its highest profits ever in 2015, its 250,000,000th player, and a constant parade of content updates, spinoffs, and legacy server nods, culminating in a Chinese expansion and new London offices. The game is planning three expansions in 2017.
Source: Press release
RuneScape was nominated for our Most Underrated award this year and made it into our top 10 list of healthiest MMOs, and for good reason: The 2001 game saw its highest profits ever in 2015, its 250,000,000th player, and a constant parade of content updates, spinoffs, and legacy server nods, culminating in a Chinese expansion and new London offices.
So it should come as no surprise that Jagex has big plans for 2017 too. January is expected to update Divination, add the Nex: Angel of Death content storyline, and reprise several events. February should introduce new skills for the Invention system, XP events, and a secret event: "Let me tell you what a little bird told me: it's great, Scott." Shattered Worlds, the achievements system, spring events, a dailies rework, retooled challenges, a bank rework, and a redesign of the mining/smithing professions are also on the way, in addition to -- count 'em up -- three expansions in June, September, and December.
I absolutely adore Christmas music -- in moderation and in season. I keep to strict personal rules not to listen to it before Black Friday or after New Year's Eve, which for me keeps it special and doesn't overstay its welcome. There's just a sound about Christmas music, both religious and secular, that is so happy, hopeful, and unique. It brings out so many great emotions and coats the holiday season in an extra layer of musical joy.
As we downshift for the holiday season, taking a break from the routine to spend some extra time with friends and family, I want to give you the gift of a half-dozen MMORPG tunes that embrace the Christmas music genre. Some are new, some are traditional, and some are just plain weird.
If you've listened to Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys one too many time this season already, here's something different that ties together your love of gaming with the holidays.
One of the big MMO stories in 2016 was the debate and drama over the demand for certain vanilla servers in popular games. Even as World of Warcraft has waffled on the notion of legacy servers, RuneScape has been quietly supporting not one, but two retro servers (classic and old school) for players who prefer those time periods.
In an interview with Waypoint, Jagex Game Director Mark Ogilvie discusses why the studio embraces legacy servers, even though it means a lot of extra work running three versions of the fantasy MMORPG. "We are very much driven by the desires of our community," he said. "They decide the fundamental direction of the content we add, and also the way we spend most of our development time. They told us that's what they wanted, so we did it."
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!
Remember back in 2013 when RuneScape launched the "Missing, Presumed Death" questline? When Death actually went missing? Yeah, we don't either. 2013 was adorable, though. But hey, Jagex never leaves strings untied when it can help it, which is why today it's wrapping up that plotline in a "cataclysmic conclusion" with a grandmaster quest called Sliske's Endgame.
"Sliske's Endgame sees RuneScape's surviving deities battle to take control of the Stone of Jas, a source of incredible power in the game's mythos. Featuring a sophisticated story with multiple endings, each determined by every individual player's actions in the questline over recent years, Sliske's Endgame will also be replayable in the coming weeks - but only the decisions made on the first play through will be taken as canon."
Sliske's Endgame is due out next week, though you can already run around working on trinkets for the new content; Jagex says it "set the scene for a major RuneScape storyline in 2017 and beyond." The game is also busy building out Christmas with the Frostworld holiday quest, the first part of which is already live.
Welcome to Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards series.
Every year, we poll our writers about the best and worst MMOs, stories, studios, and trends and assign awards to the winners (or losers, as the case may be). At the end of 2014, we broke with tradition and split our awards into smaller categories and individual posts so that we could consider them throughout the month of December, and it worked very well in 2015, so we'll be repeating that format once again here. We'll also continue providing our writers' nominations and rationales (in some cases, we allowed them to choose two games to make the final decision easier); we think that's helpful insight. And we'll include a just-for-fun reader's poll at the end. Let's see whether you agree with our picks!
Today's award is for the most underrated MMO of 2016, which was awarded to Trove last year. Once again, we've opted to include pre-2016 MMOs for many of these awards, including this one, as long as they accomplished something truly notable in this calendar year.
The Massively OP staff pick for Most Underrated MMO of 2016 is...
About a year and a half ago, my colleague, co-worker, and friend to man and beast alike Justin compiled a list of the healthiest live MMOs at the time. Since then, every single one of those games has shut down, except for... you know, all of them. They're all still doing just fine. So as we wrap up 2016, it seems prudent to look at which games are looking hale and healthy before we head into 2017 and beyond.
As before, this is based on a combination of several factors including news trends, news stories, Steam charts, Reddit, and our own experience in the news room. It should not be taken as an ironclad promise, but it does mean that if any of these games were banished to the land of wind and ghosts, we would be quite surprised. So if you're looking to see what games seem to be doing well and are worth counting on still running in another year? Yeah, here's the way to bet.